Florida Panthers: Does the Troy Brouwer Signing Make Sense?

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 6: Troy Brouwer #36 of the Calgary Flames sets for a face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at the Air Canada Centre on December 6, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 6: Troy Brouwer #36 of the Calgary Flames sets for a face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at the Air Canada Centre on December 6, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After the Florida Panthers went out and signed forward Troy Brouwer to a one-year contract, we wondered… did it make sense?

While many thought the Florida Panthers were done for the offseason, they yet again proved that they weren’t. On Tuesday, August 28, the Panthers inked Troy Brouwer to a one-year, one-way contract worth $850K annually.

The term and money wasn’t the initial problem when the details were released, but the major concern was whether adding another aging veteran forward made sense. The answer to that is obviously no, but again, it depends on the context. Let’s break it down…

When Dale Tallon signed Troy Brouwer, the whole intention of the signing was to bring in another body to challenge the young kids with in training camp. Competition is great, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time, I think we can all agree that our young crop of kids are more skilled and bring far more to the table than Brouwer can at this stage in his career.

The other factor we must take into consideration is the huge logjam the Panthers have in their bottom-six. Take a look below and choose just six players from that group:

You take a look at all the options the Panthers have towards their disposal and you try to imagine the coaching staff pick six from those fourteen players. Not an easy task, that’s for sure!

But with Brouwer joining an already-large list of aging vets on the Panthers’ bottom line, it’s probably best to conclude that the signing wasn’t the smartest of moves.

Now, you have Brouwer joining the likes of Haley, MacKenzie, Sceviour, McGinn, and Letestu (PTO) who are all fighting for spots on the bottom line. Does that even leave any openings for the young guys who deserve a spot?

What you don’t want happening is guys like Brouwer taking away spots from players like Borgstrom and Malgin. Players of Borgstrom and Malgin’s caliber deserve to be full-time in the NHL and shouldn’t have their spots taken from aging 30-year-olds.

It’s also worth mentioning that those aforementioned young guns hold a greater chance of helping the Cats reach the playoffs. One of the things that prevented Florida from reaching the playoffs last season was their lack of bottom-six scoring.

One thing I’ll say is that you aren’t addressing the problem if you’re throwing the Brouwers and Haleys into the mix while leaving out the Borgstroms and Malgins.

With all of that said, there comes the flip side to the equation. Troy Brouwer may be a declining forward at the age of 33, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an upgrade to some of the forwards the Panthers possess on their fourth line.

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Think of a forward who played so frequently yet contributed so little… Micheal Haley! The only way to make sense of this signing is to have Brouwer replace one of the least contributing guys from the fourth line.

In doing so, you’re at the very least upgrading a position that you were weak in the previous year, while at the same time, you’re avoiding tampering, messing, and getting in the way of a young player’s spot.

As most know, Haley offers very little going forward for the bottom line. His offensive contributions are extremely limited, while his defensive coverage isn’t any better.

If there was ever a time to outright replace Haley, it’s now! And what better way to do so than to replace him with Brouwer, who you recently signed and who’s a significant upgrade in comparison to Haley. I don’t know about you, but I’d take Brouwer’s 22 points versus Haley’s 9. I think it’s common sense… wouldn’t you agree?

The Panthers can ultimately head in two directions with Troy Brouwer. The first option: Troy plays, he takes a spot from a promising young player who’s ready to play full-time, and potentially plays in a role greater than what he can handle.

Or… you can head towards option two, which is: he plays, he doesn’t get in the way or prevent the young players from playing, and replaces obvious deadwood (Haley) while improving the fourth line.

Again, I’m not sure about you, but without even thinking I’m going with option two. Whether you like it or not, Brouwer will play this season. Tallon didn’t sign him to a contract for nothing and is expecting the right-handed forward to play this year.

Seeing the Cats need to make the best out of the Brouwer situation, the only way to do that is to play him on the fourth line (where he belongs) and use him as a replacement for one of the weaker players (Haley, D-Mac, etc.).

I know fans would love to have a fourth line excluding both Derek MacKenzie and Micheal Haley (I know I would too), but seeing that isn’t going to happen, the next best thing possible is to replace one of the two with a better forward, and that’s what you’re getting with Troy Brouwer.

Next. Derek MacKenzie Should Play Less This Season. dark

I can live with Brouwer playing on the fourth line and replacing a player like Haley, but what I can’t live with is him taking a roster spot away from a young player who’s deserving of it. It’ll be interesting to see what Tallon and the coaches decide, but for the sake of the team, let’s hope they go with ‘option two’ from above.