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TMR late night line: Is Troy Brouwer a free agent fit?

I'm sensing a bit of a theme here, if not a little "intelligence" reporting, from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson here. The night before the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers, Matheson said this about a potential Wings free agent target...

One team that will go hard to sign UFA Troy Brouwer this summer is Detroit. Other than Justin Abdelkader, they are painfully small up front. “Detroit’s got skilled forwards but they’re small and not that fast,” said one Eastern-based pro scout. Detroit needs help on defence, too, because Niklas Kronwall’s body is beat up. UFA Alex Goligoski (Dallas) is a possibility.

And on Thursday night, Matheson said this:

Winger Troy Brouwer is doing a nice job driving up his free-agent price July 1 with his playoff work for the Blues. The Red Wings badly need Brouwer’s size to give Justin Abdelkader some added muscle on a second line.

It's one source twice, and that's exactly one third of the way toward the, "Three sources, minimum, for confirmation" rule, but it IS one well-connected and highly-esteemed columnist we're talking about. So take this for what you will.

Brouwer is 30 going on 31, 6'3" and 215 pounds, and he made $3.75 million this past season for St. Louis, registering 18 goals and 39 points in 82 NHL games. He's a 30-to-40-point guy who is big and relatively mean when necessary. It's an interesting thought at least.

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Comments

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Brouwer has never been fast, is past his prime, and is driving up his price via the playoffs. Sounds like a typical Ken Holland move that will be regrettable as soon as it’s signed.

If we must get bigger, it could be done very organically. Jurco, Mantha, and Nosek are all big bodies. So make room on the roster for those three. Also, Mitch Callahan plays big. Svechnikov is young and 99% not likely to be ready for Detroit, but he’s a big body.

Then if you must bring outside help, do it via trade and for a guy who isn’t past his prime. We’ve already got that in Abdelkader who starts a massive contract already past his prime or at the very tail end of it.

I’d be comfortable if Holland wanted to trade one of Nyquist or Tatar for a guy like Niederreiter from Minnesota.

Posted by dmorley21 on 05/06/16 at 05:55 AM ET

von Awesome's avatar

No, thanks. And I’m not sure what Eastern conference pro scout he’s sourcing for the article, but the guy needs to get his eyes checked. Most of our small forwards are plenty fast, perhaps not Pulkkinen, but we have some pretty fast forwards on this team.

Posted by von Awesome on 05/06/16 at 07:02 AM ET

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Count me out.  He’s older, slower, and will be expensive.  He’s another complementary veteran—we need to use our cap space on upgrades.  I’d rather take my chances adding size from Grand Rapids (Mantha, AA, and Nosek are all big guys—we could even give Aubrey a shot on the 4th line, I guess) and use any available cap space to add star players.

Add in that, if we wanted to gamble, we could probably sign Chris Stewart for half the cost and less than half the term, definitely not.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 08:36 AM ET

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Forward help? I mean, we need to package Nyquil/tartar and a pick for an “upgrade” at forward, and/or a #2-3 D man. I think this would be a lateral move in all honesty. He would probably help our cause but if we don’t unload some of these players who aren’t doing anything much on our team, then we’re just adding more to the problem. We need to clean house, maybe not a full rebuild but we need to gut it fairly clean. Trade some of these guys, tats, Nyquil, sheahan, pulk, jurco the list goes on and on.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 05/06/16 at 08:42 AM ET

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Brewer will be a great addition, but he will probably demand 5 years/25mil deal at least and his age it’s probably too much and too long. Same with Ladd and same with Backes, who will possibly cost even more.
I’ve read that Backes already rejected $5.5 mil from the Blues. I also do not see why any of them comes here unless we massively overpay.
But in a vacuum, all 3 will be great additions.
Another guy in that category of players is Lucic and he is only 27, but I am not sold on him being a good character guy that is always important for KH.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/06/16 at 08:53 AM ET

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He’s a “team looking for the final piece” type player.

This isn’t that kind of team.

Unless we bag Stamkos first, no thanks.

Posted by Unsaddled on 05/06/16 at 09:04 AM ET

jpellek's avatar

Pass on Brouwer and Backes. Both will want a significant raise this summer and I’m sure if the Blues continue their run, they’ll want to keep Backes signed through the rest of his career. He’s the heart and soul of their team.

Brouwer was a decent piece back in 2010 when he was with the Hawks, but I don’t see how he chooses to sign in Detroit on a cap-friendly deal after coming off a good playoff. Someone will choose to overpay him though and likely regret that decision.

Posted by jpellek on 05/06/16 at 09:30 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

I’m not sold on Brouwer.  My gut says no.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/06/16 at 09:33 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Brouwer can play on the blueline?

Otherwise GTFO.

Posted by Primis on 05/06/16 at 10:58 AM ET

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More than anything we are missing a GM we can trust to make any positive changes. Would be really nice if we had Nill. Took him 2-3 years and look where Dallas is now and they even play the style of game worth watching. You can say all you want about them being in a better position than us when Nill got there, but their core are all free agents (Spezza, Sharp, Hemsky, etc), their best player is 129th pick and their best dman is 131st pick. And Seguin is not even playing.
I was an adamant KH supporter for years, but like Z cannot play on the level he was 5 years ago, KH cannot manage the team on the level he was doing 10 years ago. I also realize that a new GM might be worse, but it’s just sad that we let the talent go (Yzerman, Nill)

Posted by VPalmer on 05/06/16 at 11:35 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Sounds like a typical Ken Holland move that will be regrettable as soon as it’s signed.

The way KH over pays every UFA is a potential Wing

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/06/16 at 12:09 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 05/06/16 at 11:35 AM ET

The Nill/Yzerman vs. Holland reset has got to be one of the worst fanboy complaints this fanbase raises.

The situation in Dallas and Tampa when those two took over, vs. where Detroit is/was, is utterly night and day.  This is the 2nd year Dallas has made the playoffs since 2008, 2nd, and Tampa has qualified 4 years.  That means for all those years, they traded talent to acquire picks/prospects, and drafted nice and high to build the teams they have today. They also had plenty of cap space to add free agents like Sharp.  Neither guy wouldn’t been able to lose in Detroit to do what they did for their teams.

Both have done nice jobs, and both might be better GMs than Holland, but to discount what either guy walked into is not looking at reality.

Honestly I think its a good thing Yzerman left, this fanbase would be bagging on him right now.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 05/06/16 at 12:17 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’ve read that Backes already rejected $5.5 mil from the Blues. I also do not see why any of them comes here unless we massively overpay.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/06/16 at 08:53 AM ET

That last line is the key point. I don’t think this summer is going to be about who the Wings want. I think it’s going to be about who will be willing to even consider the Wings – and that includes Stamkos.

And nothing can be done until Pavel makes his decision. If he leaves, Holland has to move his contract, and I have zero faith in him being able to do it without giving away far too much in terms of picks and/or prospects. If Pavel returns, it most certainly will be with the requirement that Radulov comes with him. And that could be another Ken Holland contract fiasco.

...KH cannot manage the team on the level he was doing 10 years ago. I also realize that a new GM might be worse…

Looking back at the last few years, I don’t know how any GM could have done worse than what Tick Tock the Broken Clock has done.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/06/16 at 12:17 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I wish ownership first and foremost, along with this spoiled fanbase, would just accept some failure, and allow Holland to play a roster filled with kids,  trade off whatever veterans he can find homes for like Kronwall, and see what happens.

Unfortunately neither will happen, and you can just feel the pressure from both sides are gonna push this team into doing something stupid, I can almost feel it coming, like a max deal for Lucic or something, and trading away a lot of future talent for a #2 dman.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 05/06/16 at 12:21 PM ET

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Maybe so, but Yzerman still signed like four defensemen we could’ve signed on the way to building a blueline that’s lightyears better than ours, and pantsed us in the 2011 draft despite having later picks.

Dallas has made some moves we could’ve made, too.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 12:28 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 12:28 PM ET

 

Yep and those guys chose to play with the young top 10 picks Tampa drafted because they lost and sucked like Stamkos and Hedman, just like people used to sign here to play with Nick.

In reality, we could have made 1 signing, or 1 trade, and then our cap space and prospect/pick depth would’ve been tapped out.  You deplete yourself when you contend for 2 decades, while losing and trading away your talent while doing it, gives you more chips to rebuild. Those two set down at a table with a stack of chips to play with, they played them right, but still easier to start the game rich. 

Look both guys are smart, they didn’t choose those teams because it was the only person calling, they walked into premium situations with a fanbase and ownership that was willing to accept early failure, which both delivered.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 05/06/16 at 12:43 PM ET

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In reality, we could have made 1 signing, or 1 trade, and then our cap space and prospect/pick depth would’ve been tapped out. 

I’ve already laboriously shown that this is not the case; I’m not going to do so again.  We made on several occasions bad decisions, spending large amounts of money on bad or mediocre players when good players signed with other teams, often Tampa, for less. 

We drafted three guys in the second round in 2011 ahead of the guy leading the playoffs in goal scoring right now.  None of them even dressed.  That’s another example of bad decision making by us, and good decision making by a decision-maker we had on our team but let walk for nothing, that you can’t attribute to poor baby Kenny’s hands being tied somehow.

It’s ok to just admit that Yzerman’s eaten Holland’s lunch on several occasions.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 02:48 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 02:48 PM ET

+19

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/06/16 at 03:56 PM ET

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If he leaves, Holland has to move his contract, and I have zero faith in him being able to do it without giving away far too much in terms of picks and/or prospects.

I just don’t understand this attitude.  I don’t have a lot of faith in Ken Holland’s trading ability, but if Datsyuk decides to stay in Russia, his contract will be -by a pretty good margin- the most attractive trading chip the Wings will have.

We drafted three guys in the second round in 2011 ahead of the guy leading the playoffs in goal scoring right now.

1) Do you really think Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman are the guys who put all the time and research into who they draft?
2) I wish people would stop pretending that Ken Holland or any other GM should’ve been able to predict in June 2011 what we know now in May 2016.

Anything beyond the first couple picks in any draft is a crap shoot.  Do you really think that Yzerman and his scouts were high-fiving each other when they drafted Kucherov because they knew he was going to have seven goals in the first eight games of the 2016 playoffs?

Almost every team drafted at least one player, and some as many as four, before Tampa Bay picked Kucherov.

Holland deserves a lot of blame for a lot of things, but his inability to see five years into the future when drafting 18 year olds in the second round is eight near the bottom of the list.

Posted by Garth on 05/06/16 at 05:01 PM ET

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1) Do you really think Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman are the guys who put all the time and research into who they draft?

Of course not.  I assume that Al Murray, the man Yzerman hired as Director of Amateur Scouting, managed a team of scouts, some of whom Yzerman also hired, and that that team made a series of recommendations to Yzerman and the rest of the staff, such as Pat Verbeek, whom Yzerman also hired, and they drafted based on the consensus views they adopted.

Not sure what your point is.

2) I wish people would stop pretending that Ken Holland or any other GM should’ve been able to predict in June 2011 what we know now in May 2016.

He doesn’t need to be able to “predict” the future.  But he does kind of need to be able to draft and develop talent, given that he says that this is a drafting and development league.  If we’re going to say that Yzerman and Nill had it easy because they draft ahead of us, then it’s fair to look at how the ONE CLASS that’s had five years to develop under either of them compares with Holland’s results. 

It’s ugly.  That’s not my fault.  Next summer we could easily be saying the same about the 2012 draft—though proper usage of AA could maybe prevent that.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 06:49 PM ET

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I have no idea if Yzerman would have stayed if Holland had moved upstairs to open the GM spot. It sure sounds like having the ability to build his own team in a different, less pressured market, but with new supportive ownership has been appealing to him.

But re: Nill and scouting, Holland one said about the prospect of losing Nill, something close to “God, he’s my eyes!”  - partly that may have been Nill’s role, but it was also one of Nill’s great strengths - oh, and Nill took Joe McDonnell (sp?) with him, didn’t he?

Don’t joke about timing your retirement to match Nick’s and then not do it, but have no plan,
other than over-ripen and throw away decent prospects for veterans with nothing left.

Don’t joke about how you will be blind to talent and prospect evaluation and then refuse to get out of the way so Nill can finally get that long-deserved promotion.

The guys brought in have not been adequate replacements - for Bowman, Yzerman, Nill, etc
how could they be?

The Wings long record of making the playoffs has not in itself consigned them to all of these unforced errors. Yeah, maybe some other team whiffed on Kucherov once more than even we did, but is that what we’re going for - second-worst use 3-4 picks?
Who told Holland that Janmark was redundant or expendable? Who told Holland that
Cole was a reasonably safe bet to handle playoff hitting (or even make it that far)?

Holland can’t make trades, free agents are no longer so attracted to a middling Wings team…if you can’t evaluate talent both pro and minor and truly draft and develop at the high end, all you have left is riding a reputation

Posted by Lefty30 on 05/06/16 at 08:24 PM ET

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Agreed, Lefty.

And by the way, it isn’t just whiffing on Kucherov.  Sure, other teams missed on him too, whatever.  We had three picks and didn’t get someone capable of playing regular minutes five seasons later. 

I don’t know if that’s a drafting thing or a development thing, but IF this is a “drafting and developing league” and IF the reason we didn’t bottom out is because that’d be an 8-10 year process, meaning 8-10 years is unacceptably long, shouldn’t we expect at least one regular out of three high round picks?  Other teams got them—Boone Jenner, Brandon Saad, John Gibson. 

We did get Marchenko out of the draft (an overager who was already playing pro hockey overseas, but a smart value play for the 7th round that’s paying off), and it’s not like any of Jurco, Ouellet, and Sproul are total busts.  But, Larkin and Mrazek aside, we’ve struggled to find impact players through the draft. 

If you’re not good at signing free agents ... trades ... drafting ... development ... retaining front office talent ... identifying which players on your own team have earned long-term expensive contracts ... well ... what are you good at?  Reminding people of your big Shanahan trade from 20 years ago?

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/06/16 at 08:49 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.