Unrestricted free agent forward Troy Brouwer inked a new, one-year deal with the Florida Panthers. Brouwer, 33, just wrapped up his second season with the Calgary Flames. Although he initially signed a four-year deal with the Flames, Calgary bought out the remaining two seasons of that contract earlier this summer. While Calgary’s contract was paying him $4.5 million per season, the one-year agreement in Florida will only run $850,000.
Troy Brouwer Heading to Florida
In 76 games, Brouwer posted six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 2017-18. This represented the worst season statistically of his career, matched by the career-low 13:56 average time-on-ice he received. His relative Corsi-for percentage also struggled, at -4.3% (although he’s typically on the negative side of this statistic through his career).
Fitting in with the Panthers
A talented team ramping up for a playoff push in 2018-19, the Florida Panthers add a veteran presence in Brouwer to their young forward group. As a natural right winger, he sticks out on a roster featuring a small number of guys in that position. Nick Bjugstad plays on the right despite being a natural centerman, and Colton Sceviour and Evgeni Dadonov play the right on most nights too. However, the team has a ton of players fighting for ice time at all forward positions. This puts Brouwer smack-dab in that battle heading into training camp.
Florida entered the summer expecting to address their weakness on the wings, and after adding Mike Hoffman to boost the top six winger group, Brouwer does the same for the bottom six. He has thrice eclipsed the 20-goal plateau, and usually contributes between 30 and 45 points over a full season. Whether those days are entirely behind him remains to be seen.
Offensive Competition Brewing for Florida Panthers
With 15 forwards currently on their roster and others like Owen Tippett fighting for an upset to make the team out of training camp, the Florida Panthers just made things that much more competitive. Troy Brouwer possesses experience and brings a veteran presence that most of the team’s forwards simply don’t have.
Last summer the Panthers signed winger Radim Vrbata in a similar fashion; that is, an ageing winger to provide depth scoring. Vrbata flopped, and at nearly $3 million, it was an expensive mistake. Brouwer is essentially the same experiment, but five years younger and at less than 1/3 the price. If he can get back to the level of play he displayed two or three seasons ago, Florida will be ecstatic (and at a major bargain of just $850,000). If not, it was a low-risk try and at the least adds some more competition for ice time.