Troy Brouwer has only been a member of the Washington Capitals for three days, having been acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the Caps' 26th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. But that has not stopped Brouwer from wanting to step up and use his experience to lead Washington.
"There's no boundary on leadership age," the 25-year-old Brouwer said. "I want to come in and help out with all of the experience that I've had. You've got to get into the room first and get the feel of the room before you can start saying whether or not you're going to be vocal. Every team needs guys that are going to speak up and make sure that everyone knows what their roles are and what they should be doing."
Brouwer is just one year removed from winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks and he admitted that his move to Washington surprised him.
"I had heard some rumors coming up to when it happened and a little bit before the draft," Brouwer said. "I hadn't had too much conversation with Chicago as far as a new contract or extending my contract. It was a little bit of a surprise. But to go to Washington, it was a team that I hadn't heard that was interested. I'm real excited and I'm glad it was able to work out with Washington."
Despite coming to the Caps, Brouwer is still set to become a restricted free agent Friday. His two-year, $2.05 million contract expired at the end of the season, but Brouwer is positive that he will sign with the Caps.
"From what I've been told and who I've talked to so far, they are interested in signing me," Brouwer said. "Otherwise, they wouldn't be trading a first round pick for me. For me, Washington has got a great team, a lot of potential right now, but they just need a little help getting over that playoff bump. Hopefully, I can help and do what I can. I have no doubts in my mind right now that we will be able to work out a deal. Quickly, I think."
What makes Brouwer so unique is that he can play on all four forward lines. During his time in Chicago, he spent time on the top line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Brouwer said that while he is more comfortable playing on the left side, he will play wherever he is needed.
Brouwer has only played two career games against the Caps, but is familiar with their brand of hockey, having seen many highlights and video clips.
"They are a very skilled team," Brouwer said. "They are a very exciting team to watch. The crowd loves them. They always seem to have real good crowds here. They got a lot of good players and I think their only weakness is getting over that hump in the playoffs."
Perhaps most importantly, Brouwer knows what it's like to feel the highest highs and lowest lows in the postseason. Two years ago, Brouwer won the Stanley Cup, but last season, he and his teammates battled back from a 3-0 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks before falling in seven games. That bitter disappointment is something that the Caps can relate to, but Brouwer knows that teams can't dwell on the negatives.
"You have to learn that it's a series," Brouwer said. "You've got to make sure that you shake it off, take the positives from the last game and move on. You can't point fingers. You want to come together in the playoffs."