CALGARY, AB -- Troy Brouwer has been down this road before.
Been there, done that.
The veteran forward will go head-to-head with his former employers -- the St. Louis Blues -- tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome as a member of the Calgary Flames.
Calgary is the third postal code change for the Brouwers since the 2010-11 season when the rugged forward was dealt from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Washington Capitals in a summer swap that had the Caps 2012 first-round pick go the other way.
Brouwer spent four seasons in Washington before being traded again in the summer of 2015, this time to the Blues.
"It is tough. Not wanting to tell a joke on the ice or if you see somebody lined up you have to know it's business and finish your checks and play hard and they are trying to win as well," Brouwer said following the Flames morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
"You've got to put that aside for now and I know guys will always respect a player that plays hard."
The 31-year-old enjoyed an 82-game, 18-goal, 39-point campaign last season with the Blues but flourished in the playoffs, scoring eight goals in 20 post-season skates, including the game-winner in Game 7 of the opening round against his former club, the Blackhawks.
Video: The Flames foward talks about facing his former team
"I loved my year last year in St. Louis," Brouwer said. "I loved getting to know the guys, the city ... it was phenomenal. Unfortunately, I had to move on. It's always difficult; it's always a weird feeling when you play your old team, your old friends. I've done it a few times. I had a bunch of the guys over, the trainers over last night for dinner. We shared some laughs and had some fun.
"It's always tough to move teams, but it's always tough to move away from your friends."
That memorable playoff run in St. Louis last spring that included Brouwer is something Blues' defenceman Carl Gunnarsson won't soon forget.
"Being part of our team when we went that deep in the playoffs, we all grew together like a family and all of a sudden he's gone," said Gunnarsson, who draws back into the lineup tonight after missing two contests with an upper-body injury. "It'll be a little weird but we'll put that aside tonight at game time and after we'll chat a bit, hug and have a handshake. That's kind of how it works."
The Flames inked Brouwer to a four-year deal on Jul. 1 this past summer.
Adding a veteran forward who could provide some leadership and add some scoring punch to the Flames lineup was what general manager Brad Treliving had in mind.
"We only had him for one year, but he had such a big impact on our team," said defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk, who is in his seventh season with the Blues. "I still remember how hard he plays and how hard he is to play against. In that respect, he is someone who you're always going to be looking out for on the ice and someone who can hurt you at any time.
"It's going to be a little strange to play against him, but I still have it fresh in my mind the type of player that he is when you are facing off against him."
What Brouwer had in mind was a unique opportunity to help guide a young team and play a big role in the growth of a team in a Canadian market.
So far, so good, for Brouwer
Although it's still early, Brouwer has provided a taste of what he has to offer. Three goals in his first five games to lead the team in goals.
"It's been great so far. Right when I got here, such a warm reception," Brouwer said. "Everybody made a great effort to make me feel comfortable, make my family feel comfortable. Such a great group of guys in here.
"I'm still trying to get to know them and everything, but it's been a great time so far."