Vancouver Canucks Rumblings: Homecoming for Troy Brouwer?

Mar 14, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer (36) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer (36) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Do the Vancouver Canucks have room for the rugged veteran winger?

The Vancouver Canucks will have at least one big-name free agent forward as a viable option after St. Louis Blues right winger Troy Brouwer disclosed his interest in joining his hometown club in an interview with News 1130 Sports.

After a stellar performance as one of St. Louis’s top producers in the playoffs, the 30-year-old native of North Delta is becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. After a 39-point regular season, the 6’3″, 213-pound winger will certainly be looking for a raise from his $3.67 million salary cap hit.

With the Canucks opting to swap out forward Jared McCann for size and grit in defenseman Erik Gudbranson, it would be a wise move for Jim Benning to add the big winger if his club is looking to add good size and toughness on the attack.

Brouwer will also bring a voice of leadership into the Canucks locker room.

Brouwer: The Next Alex Burrows

When looking at what kind of fit Troy Brouwer would be with the Vancouver Canucks, there needs to be a comparison made to none other than Vancouver’s utility man, Mr. Alex Burrows.

First of all, to make the lineup work for Brouwer, Burrows has got to go. If Burrows wasn’t already on Trader Jim’s trade block, I would consider adding him to it if I were Mr. Benning. Burrows is also a candidate for a buyout, but considering how financially ineffective that is, it will be good for the Canucks to show respect to Burrows by trading him to where he can play.

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Secondly, the products they each bring to the ice surface are nearly identical. They both bring a hard-nosed game that is coupled with opportune scoring abilities. Both are criticized for their skating while both are lauded for being hard workers.

Remember, while Burrows was undrafted, Brouwer is a seventh-round pick. They are both leaders who work hard.

Lastly, the roles they play are very similar. While Brouwer has the ability to sit a player down on a regular basis, both are wingers who have experience playing on both wings. Burrows, as well documented in Vancouver, has played to the right of the Sedins as well as to the left of many other centers.

Brouwer, although widely regarded as a right winger, has played on the left wing with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals. This should give Brouwer some leverage when drawing into the Canucks line up.

With the right side locked up with Jannik Hansen, Jake Virtanen, Anton Rodin, potentially Emerson Etem, and also even Derek Dorsett, there is a lot more chance that Brouwer will have to play to the left as a right shot. Considering that top prospect Brock Boeser will probably draw into the lineup in 2017-18, the right will be clogged up in no time.

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Meanwhile, only Daniel Sedin and Sven Baertschi are the solid NHL scorers on the left side. Brouwer would round out a very solid top-nine should he come in as a middle-six left winger. Either way, Brouwer is sure to bring size and a net-front presence — two things that are not affected by which side of the wing one plays.

But at the end of the day, how much room do the Canucks have for Brouwer, who had 13 points in 20 playoff games while averaging about 19 minutes a game? Expect Radim Vrbata money.

Suggested Lines

S. Baertschi – B. Horvat – T. Brouwer

T. Brouwer – B. Sutter – A. Rodin

The first line above would be a good all-around line for the Canucks. What Brouwer lacks in speed that Virtanen brought, Brouwer makes up with his veteran scoring presence in front of the net. Would allow Horvat and Baertschi to work their magic while Brouwer keeps the opposition honest.

The second suggested line has the potential to be one of the best “third” lines in the NHL. A power forward and a sniper to his wings, Brandon Sutter will have plenty of playmaking options as his line has the size, speed, shot, and the net front presence.

While the Canucks are looking for a youth movement, they are also looking for a winning movement. Troy Brouwer will certainly help the second cause while being a leader to help the first cause, too.

I had Brouwer listed as one of the top five right wingers the Canucks should target in free agency. Click here to find out who’s at the top of that list.

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If Burrows is to go, Brouwer should definitely be considered. While nothing has come from the Canucks on this, Brouwer’s comments have me with my fingers crossed waiting for July 1st.