With TJ Oshie’s departure from St. Louis complete, the organization will now look ahead at how new acquisition Troy Brouwer will fit into the line-up. As with any additions to a roster lines are subject to change and St. Louis will most likely be no different.
Brouwer’s position in the line-up will depend on a couple of key factors, but in the end it’s all about getting the most out of him as a player. There’s a genuine case for why he would be a good fit one each of the first three lines, though.
Alongside captain David Backes and winger Alex Steen, there is an empty spot that used to belong to Oshie, so it would be reasonable to try out Brouwer in his trade partner’s old line. While not being known as a highly skilled guy, Brouwer does have a decent amount of speed and the ability to handle the puck well so he could find success on the first line. He has, however, been a 20 goal scorer three times in his 9 season NHL career.
Brouwer ending up on the second line would cause a domino effect of changes with other lines because it currently consists of Jaden Schwartz, Jori Lehtera, and Vladimir Tarasenko. Despite his previous experience as a second line winger, it seems highly unlikely that the Blues would edit nearly all of their offensive lines to work him into the second group, but it could happen.
The Vancouver native does have the ability to close out games, though, as seen in this clip from the 2015 NHL Winter Classic, so he might be a good match with Tarasenko.
During his career with the Capitals, Brouwer was mainly a winger on the third line, so it would be easy to put him there just out of comfort. St. Louis also happens to have an opening on the wing for the third line as it currently consists of Dmitrij Jaskin and Paul Stastny.
Brouwer’s skill set would also be a good complement to Stastny’s, assuming he remains on the third line.
The way I see it, Brouwer could end up on any of the first three lines, but it’s more a question of which players will be alongside him. Chemistry is a finicky thing in hockey and Brouwer might end up being a better fit with the fourth line than the third, or the opposite could be true and he might be slotted into the first line.
The determining factor in which line he’ll end up on is success. The Blues traded away a well-liked, skilled forward in TJ Oshie to acquire Brouwer and that isn’t something to be taken lightly. If he can be the most productive and advantageous for St. Louis on the first line that’s where he’ll be, if not they’ll put him elsewhere. Overall, it’s all about finding the best fit.