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Brouwer glad to be staying with Capitals

Wednesday, 09.12.2012 / 10:21 AM / News

By John Kreiser - Columnist

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Brouwer glad to be staying with Capitals
The Washington Capitals announced Wednesday the team had signed forward Troy Brouwer to a three-year, $11 million contract extension.

Troy Brouwer can click "contract extension" off his to-do list as he prepares to be a first-time father.

Brouwer said a desire for stability as he and his wife prepare for the arrival of their first child in a few weeks was a key reason he decided to sign a three-year contract extension with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. The deal, which takes effect beginning in the 2013-14 season, will pay him $3.6 million in 2013-14, $3.65 million the following season and $3.75 million in 2015-16. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound forward is scheduled to make $2.35 million in 2012-13, the final season of his current deal.

"We had talks throughout the summer, and I think on both sides, we both wanted to get something done," he said during a conference call a few hours after the deal was announced. "My wife and I are having a baby in a couple of weeks, so we wanted to get something done before the baby came so I could focus on that."

Family concerns weren't the only reason he's glad to be staying in Washington.

"Troy is a physical and versatile power forward who can play both wings and who has averaged close to 20 goals in the past three seasons. He is a Stanley Cup winner and a great leader. We are thrilled that he will continue his career in Washington for many years to come."
-- George McPhee

"One reason is that I really like where our team is headed. I thought we made a lot of good progress last year with our season, going into the second round, and we proved we can really compete," he said. "Plus, we got Mike Ribeiro, who's a good center and really creates a lot more of an offensive threat on our team."

With a baby on the way, Brouwer admitted that stability for his family was a key concern.

"I still have one more year left on my existing contract and three years on top of that -- me and my family will be set," he said. "We like living in D.C. as well. It wasn't too terribly tough a decision to remain."

Washington acquired Brouwer from the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2011 NHL Draft in exchange for its first-round pick. The 27-year-old had 18 goals and 33 points in his first season with the Capitals, then added two goals and four points in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Capitals advanced to the second round before losing to the New York Rangers in seven games.

"I thought I had a good season," he said. "I tried to fit in with the guys right away. I'm a versatile player and can fit in up and down the lineup, wherever the coach wants me to play. Obviously I'd like to improve and I'm looking to improve this season as far as offensive production. Anywhere that [new coach Adam] Oates wants fit me into the lineup, hopefully I can mesh well and have a smooth transition into next season, and [we can] continue playing well as we were in the playoffs."

Brouwer owns a Stanley Cup ring after helping Chicago win a title in 2010. He feels his experience in big games was an important addition to the Capitals.

"I think it's big -- me coming in with Stanley Cup experience and a lot of situational experience as well, being in games where you don't want to get too high or too low and you need to know how to prepare to come into the game," he said.

"A lot of guys know how to win, but sometimes it's taking those emotions and taking the preparation and channeling it into the game, into important games. Hopefully last year I was able to bring some secondary experience as far as games played and playoff games. I thought we had a good mix in there last year, and bringing Ribeiro in now, we're going to have even more of that this season."

Brouwer has averaged 19 goals and 36 points in the past three seasons. But his contributions have stretched beyond goals and assists. He finished last season ranked ninth in the NHL with 247 hits, and his 60 blocked shots ranked second among Capitals forwards. In addition, he was one of six Capitals to appear in all 82 regular-season games -- in fact, he's missed just seven games in his six NHL seasons.

In 320 career NHL games with Washington and Chicago, Brouwer has 136 points (67 goals, 69 assists), along with 222 penalty minutes.

"We are pleased to sign Troy Brouwer to a contract extension," Capitals general manager George McPhee said in a statement. "Troy is a physical and versatile power forward who can play both wings and who has averaged close to 20 goals in the past three seasons. He is a Stanley Cup winner and a great leader. We are thrilled that he will continue his career in Washington for many years to come."

With his contract situation taken care of, Brouwer can now turn his attention to fatherhood.

"My wife is due in about three weeks," he said. "We've got a lot of family and a lot of friends who've really helped us out, making sure that we're prepared and that we know what to expect. It's a complete lifestyle change, and I am a little bit nervous about it.

"Now it's time to focus a lot of my attention on raising a child."

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