As part of our summer countdown series, CSNwashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley breaks down his Top 25 impact players for the Washington Capitals' upcoming 2014-15 season.
No. 9: Troy Brouwer, Right Wing
2014-15 Salary: $3.65 million [$3.66 million cap hit]
2013-14 stats: 82 games, 25 goals, 18 assists, 43 points, minus-6, 92 penalty minutes, 18:50 ice time
Projected 2014-15 stats: 82 games, 27 goals, 25 assists, 52 points, plus-6, 72 penalty minutes, 18:45 average ice time
Analysis: A little more than a year ago, Adam Oates was asked which player on his roster was due for a breakout season and the first name out of his mouth was Troy Brouwer. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound power forward responded with career highs of 25 goals and 43 points, but even Brouwer would admit that with nearly 19 minutes of ice time, those numbers could have and should have been higher. After 52 games last season Brouwer had just nine goals. He closed out the season with 14 goals in his final 30 games to finish second on the club in goals and second in power-play goals with 12. Those numbers should increase if Brouwer plays a full season alongside playmaking center/winger Evgeny Kuznetsov. It should also be noted that Brouwer has played on the left wing in his career and could see time on a top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Wherever he lines up Brouwer, who will turn 29 later this month, will get plenty of ice time under Barry Trotz. He ranked third among Caps forwards in total ice time last season, behind only Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, logging an average of 3:25 on the power play and 2:06 while shorthanded. Although Brouwer is not blessed with blinding speed he plays a hard, physical game, leading the Caps with 210 hits [2.5 per game] and ranking second behind Tom Wilson with 92 penalty minutes. Brouwer is one of just two Caps players with a Stanley Cup ring [Brooks Orpik is the other] and likely will be a big part of Trotz’s leadership group. With two seasons remaining on his contract, look for Brouwer to have a big say in how much the Capitals improve over last season.