For all five of you who are not aware, on July 1st, Brooks Laich is an unrestricted free agent, meaning his contract is up with the Capitals and in Meghan’s words, “He’s just floatin’ around”. Basically, Brooksy can sign with any team that offers him a contract and, rumor has it, there are several GM’s who are interested. The internet has been all a-twitter with people spazzing out about the possibility of Brooks Laich not returning as a Capital for the 2011-2012 season. Now, the real question is: is all this fuss necessary?
Don’t get me wrong, we here at The Hockey Chronicles love Brooks Laich just as much as the next fan. He’s a great, solid guy. What’s not to love about him? But after the announcement of the Capitals’ trade of their first round draft pick for Chicago’s Troy Brouwer, some realization hit. Why do I love Brooks Laich so much?
Meghan and I sat down and discussed things, like stats and styles of play. Honestly, we love Brooks for the heart and soul kind of guy he is; Brooks is committed to the team and brings a lot of passion and heart to the game. Statistically, though, he just isn’t that outstanding. In 475 NHL games, Brooks has totaled 100 goals, 137 assists, and 237 points. Nothing about that says ‘invaluable player’.
Troy Brouwer is a player who is very much along the same lines as Brooks Laich. He is a solid third-liner and brings a certain “umph” to the game. In 238 NHL games, Brouwer has totaled 49 goals, 54 assists, and 103 points. One thing Brouwer has that Brooks Laich doesn’t is grit. On a talented team like the Capitals, we’re lacking grit. Brouwer brings this in a form of aggressiveness that doesn’t penalize the team, either. At the end of the disappointing season, many fans realized we were lacking grit. So now, after GMGM got us something we’ve all been asking for, why are we freaking out?
If you guys don’t realize it, we haven’t won a Cup with Brooks Laich here, so would his departure drastically change anything? As fans, having a team that will win the Stanley Cup should be our biggest goal, not holding on to our favorite players. After all, we are Washington Capitals fans, not so-and-so fans. The team comes first and if we’re real fans, we should be willing to suffer through anything that happens to our lineup in order for our team to finally bring a Cup back to Washington.
Now, why am I bringing up all this mess? Honestly, I’m just saying that by acquiring Brouwer, I believe GMGM may be preparing for the possibility of Brooks Laich not returning. Personally, I think the likelihood of Brooks Laich turning down a contract with the Caps is unlikely, willing that a contract is offered, but only to a degree.
Brooks Laich is committed to the Washington Capitals, but we cannot forget that this is a career. The Capitals may simply not be able to give Laich the bump in pay that he wants or deserves. Brouwer received a little over a million while Brooks Laich’s last contract gave him a little over two million a year. It is through Brouwer that we can still have a solid player, but for cheaper.
I’m not trying to discredit Brooks Laich with this post; I’m just looking at the facts and reasoning with the decisions that have been and may be made. On my part, this has been a sort of a preparation for the possibility that we may not see Laich on the roster next season, but honestly, who knows? This is only the beginning of the crazy, hockey summer and with all the left-wing, out-of-nowhere trades and deals that have been happening, we honestly cannot predict much of anything.
When it all comes down to it, we just have to have faith in GMGM.