Troy Brouwer may want to start practising his blackjack game just in case.
Calgary Sun writer, Eric Francis, is reporting that Brouwer will most likely go unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft.
This comes after the Flames signed the 32-year-old forward to a four-year deal last off-season.
Scoring 39 points last season, Brouwer went on to help the St. Louis Blues reach the Conference Finals with a playoff career-high 18 points.
The Vancouver native’s play slipped this year, accumulating a meagre 25 points during the regular season, scoring below 30 for the first time since his first full season in 2009.
The June 21st expansion draft in Las Vegas will see the Golden Knights draft players from every NHL team. In order to retain their talent, teams are allowed to protect players with two options:
- seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender OR
- eight players of any position and one goaltender.
At this point the Flames have a core group of players that have helped them become a playoff team. Those players will be the ones protected from the grubby hands of the NHL’s newest team.
The Flames will no doubt go option one in protecting their key guys. Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Michael Frolik, Micheal Ferland, and Sam Bennett are all guaranteed to be protected, leaving one spot open for an additional forward.
Brouwer is far from filling that last spot. Both Hunter Shinkaruk and Curtis Lazar have a case to be picked as that seventh protected player. Both are young and still developing.
Lazar has the upper hand among the two. The 22-year-old was acquired at the trade deadline for a second round pick.
Would the Flames really waste that second round pick?
That leaves Brouwer on the outside of the list, free to be snatched up by the Golden Knights.
Although, that likely won’t happen.
With three years remaining and at four million dollars a year, Brouwer has one of the larger contracts on the team and the likelihood of Vegas wanting to take that on is slim.
His play was not at all impressive for a guy with that large of a contract.
The Flames gave him first-line money, but after playing with Gaudreau and Monahan, it didn’t pan out. He spent much of his time playing on the fourth line.
While leaving Brouwer unprotected is likely the right decision, it might be a little embarrassing for GM Brad Treliving, who spent a lot of money on the experienced winger less than 12 months ago.