Editor’s Note: The Washington Capitals have made a ton of moves this offseason, from acquiring T.J. Oshie and re-signing restricted free agent goaltender Braden Holtby to wishing a fond farewell to unrestricted free agents Joel Ward and Eric Fehr, among others. But there’s one burning question yet to be answered: What will become of the Brouwer Rangers? That’s where we turn things over to Friend of RMNB and man-bun aficionado Ben Scarbro:
Now that Troy Brouwer is headed to a city whose nickname sounds like a British person’s bathroom, it’s time for the Brouwer Rangers to retire the fanny packs and the spandex onesies. In order to determine where they’re headed next, we have to take a quick look into their past.
Our story begins in the 1980s, when the Brouwer Rangers were originally just babies, Ryan and Nathan. But that’s boring. Let’s skip ahead 20-ish years. In 2009, Ryan and Nathan decided to cheer for a Caps player, but instead of picking the most well-known player, or guy with the longest term, they chose “to go crazy for a player that other people don’t go crazy for.” That player was Mike Knuble, and Knuble’s Knights were born.
When Knuble was let go by the organization after the 2011-2012 season, the boys had to say goodbye, and they needed a new player to focus on. Soon they revealed their intentions (and quite a bit more) to swear allegiance to Troy Brouwer and become the Brouwer Rangers we all know and some of us love.
Though the two-man sample size is small, we can find some common characteristics that suggest where they may be headed next. Below is a chart of the 2009 Caps with their salary and contract length shown. A few things to note about these graphs:
Mike Knuble is represented here in green. While he presented a risk in long-term investment, it was obvious that he would have plenty of playing time due the fact he was so high on the payroll. Let’s compare to 2012 when Ryan and Nathan were forced to put down their swords and pick up their fanny packs.
Here we see that Troy Brouwer was a great choice. He presented a slightly longer term, but without over-committing on value. Now let’s take a look at the current roster:
I took the liberty of greying out some of the players who are less likely choices due to limited expected playing time, superstar status, or too short of term. The boys won’t want to cheer for someone who won’t be playing, but have clearly demonstrated a preference for under-appreciated players. They also won’t want to spend money on an outfit they use for a single year.
If Ryan and Nathan want someone who’s sticking around a while, they could go for a four-year guy like Orpik. Except defense, you know? BORING. The only “long-term,” non-superstar forward is Jay Beagle (I know, right?), and he’s probably not the boys’ first choice. So, it looks like they could end up having to settle for another two-year deal guy.
If we are limited by expected TOI, term and non-superstar status, and rule out any of the defense, then we are left with six options: Laich, Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, Beagle, Oshie and Williams (and potentially Johansson, a long-shot thanks to his one-year deal).
In my next post we’ll dive into the six–ish forwards left in our “zone of probability” and talk about the positives, negatives and alliterative devices of each.
Also relevant, Ian in Spandex.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.