The Flames need a rebound after cratering out of the playoff picture this past season and they're well on their way. After trading for goalie Brian Elliott, Calgary has now signed burly right winger Troy Brouwer – so the Flames have two of the Blues' best players from the 2016 post-season.
Brouwer just signed a four-year, $18 million deal, which works out to $4.5 million per season. That's decent length and term for a guy who helped push St. Louis to the conference final after years of playoff disappointment in the city. Though his minutes fell more on the defensive side in St. Louis, Brouwer tallied 13 points in 20 playoff games, tying him for fifth on the Blues. A big body, Brouwer loves to throw his weight around and isn't afraid to muck it up. That's great for a Flames team currently dominated by younger players up front such as Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund, none of whom are physical beasts. The Flames still need to turn around their possession game if they want to make any hay in the West, but they are heading in the right direction. Year over year, Calgary improved from third-worst in the NHL to 21st overall. Brouwer wasn't a big driver of possession in St. Louis, though he did play against very tough competition. Given that one of Calgary's main deficiencies last year was goaltending, the Flames have already addressed a weakness by bringing in the solid Elliott. If Brouwer can take on tough minutes and make the Flames a little nastier to face, then pushing the puck in the right direction should get easier for a mobile defense corps still coming together behind captain Mark Giordano. Is a playoff spot back in the cards for Calgary now? They've certainly got a shot. And Brouwer, who has a Stanley Cup from his days with the Chicago Blackhawks, is the type of guy you don't want to face in a seven-game series.
WHAT ADVANCED STATS SAY: A gritty and versatile middle-six player, but the Flames paid a bit of a steep price for a player who won’t be at the top of their lineup. Brouwer can chip in at a 20-20 rate and isn’t a complete possession drag either. Interestingly, his relative goals rate is consistently much higher than his shot rates which might have something to do with his high shot conversion rate. It’s not one of the worst deals of the day, but it’s not the best either. Sort of like Brouwer’s skill set, really. An average guy getting an average deal with a small pump in pay for the size, grit and compete he brings to the table.
By Dominik Luszczyszyn