The St. Louis Blues brought in two veteran forwards on professional tryouts last week in Jamie McGinn and Troy Brouwer. While McGinn was released from his PTO this morning, Brouwer has had better luck. The Blues have revealed that forward Sammy Blais will undergo surgery on his right wrist and is set to miss at least ten weeks. Taking his spot on the roster will be Brouwer, who the team announced has signed a one-year, two-way contract worth a pro-rated $750K.
While Brouwer unofficially began his second stint with the Blues last week, the team had to decide by Thursday whether or not to sign the gritty forward. Given the absence of Blais, as well as Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen, the Blues clearly felt they could use the depth up front. Brouwer brings familiarity with the organization, having suited up for St. Louis back in 2015-16. In fact, that was the last season in which Brouwer cracked 25 points and was one of the more complete campaigns of his long career. A 13-year NHL veteran, Brouwer has developed a hard-nosed, two-way game that has proved dangerous in recent years with the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, even as his overall offense dropped off slightly. Brouwer will be a nice depth piece for the Blues, who will take advantage of his experience and toughness in the bottom six.
However, Brouwer is not a seamless replacement for Blais. While the 23-year-old forward has a large frame and a physical style himself, Blais’ skating and offensive skill are superior to Brouwer’s at this point in their respective careers. In fact, Blais was enjoying a breakout season to this point, recording five goals and eight points through 20 games. That mark makes him a top-six scoring forward for St. Louis this season, a role than he has actually been playing more often since Tarasenko and Steen suffered injuries. The Blues will not expect Brouwer to jump in and play with the pace and scoring efficiency of Blais, but it is a convenient time for the team to be able to add a capable option to their forward corps.