Troy Brouwer realizes he could have played out the final year of his contract with the Capitals and cashed in on unrestricted free agency next summer.
But with a baby on the way and a lower salary cap on the horizon, the 27-year-old left wing played it safe and signed a three-year contract extension Wednesday that should keep him in Washington through the 2015-16 season.
I really like where the team is headed, Brouwer said from New York, where he is attending the NHLPA meetings. I felt we made a lot of good progress last season, going into the second round of the playoffs and being a team that can really compete.
Plus, this year we got Mike Ribeiro, who can create a more offensive threat. Plus, I get stability for my family. It ensures me and my family will be set and we like living in DC, as well. It wasnt too tough a decision.
Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last summer in exchange for the Capitals 26th pick overall of the 2011 entry draft Phillip Danault, Brouwer recorded 18 goals and 15 assists in 82 games last season. He also led the Capitals with 247 hits and finished second with 60 blocked shots.
I thought I had a good season, Brouwer said. I tried to fit in with the guys right away and tried to make an impact as well as I could. Im a versatile player who can play up and down the lineup, wherever they need me. I was able to help out with scoring and play with Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks on a checking line and I thought we did a good job of that, especially in the Boston series which the Caps won in seven games.
Id like to improve next season as far as offensive production, but also wherever head coach Adam Oates wants to fit me into the lineup.
Brouwer will make 2.35 million under his current contract this season. When his new deal kicks in hell earn 3.6 million next season, 3.65 the following season and 3.75 in 2015-16.
Brouwer is valued as much for his leadership in the locker room and his intangibles on the ice as he is for his goal scoring. He said he thinks that part of his game, which includes winning a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, is big.
I think its important not to get too high or too low, Brouwer said. We have a pretty young team, but a lot of the guys have won at other levels. A lot of guys know how to win but sometimes its taking those emotions and channeling them into a very important game. Hopefully, last year I was able to bring some secondary experience and I think with bringing in Ribeiro well have even more than that this season.