July 2nd. The day T.J. Oshie was traded and fans reacted like Ted Drewes was being transported to D.C.
Let's face it. General Manager Doug Armstrong was trading a hero. Oshie was an Olympic hero, scoring so many goals in a shootout in Sochi that people forgot the USA didn't do much else after that. The Blues were trading a shootout artist. Someone who could score so easily when he didn't have to juke around four defenders and lose the puck to the corner. Who would get rid of that marvelous ability that made no difference in the playoffs?
When the St. Louis Blues traded Oshie and thousands of people lost their shit. The little girl who hid in her closet and ended up getting an Oshie jersey. People mourned the ex-party hound and annual overrated winger after he left for the Capital and didn't care who came to the Blues in return. They didn't care about a guy named Troy Brouwer.
20 games into the season, Brouwer and his mustache have 5 goals and 8 assists. He's played mostly on the third line without supreme talent. You won't catch Troy scoring dazzling goals from ridiculous angles like some players. He is like the half broken lunch sandwich with too much mustard on it as opposed to the clean cut juicy filet that Vladimir Tarasenko is. Troy scores messy goals, often burying in rebounds and trading shoulders with bigger defensemen.
I liked the trade for many reasons. One of them was Brouwer fit this team. He didn't have to soak up a top line spot like Oshie did but could put up similar points. Brouwer has put up three 20 goal seasons, two more than Oshie. Brouwer is only signed through this season while there is an additional season left on Oshie's contract. Expensive seasons. The deal looked good then and is working out now. Brouwer is still outperforming Oshie.
Let's face it. Fans loved Oshie for his looks and hype. The "what he could be" factor. They didn't like him because he got the job done when needed. They didn't like him for the fact his skates slowed down considerably the past two seasons. They liked the poster of him on their wall, his charity efforts and his one day in Sochi. The Blues haven't skipped a beat, inserting the young stud Robby Fabbri into the mix.
Brouwer tied the game in the third period Monday in route to a 2-1 Blues victory in Buffalo. Classic Brou-style. Got a rebound and jammed it home. Raised his stick. Quietly twirled his mustache on the bench.
Respect the toughness of Brouwer. He doesn't mind throwing down his gloves and fighting. He loves to be in front of the net. He does his job. He is like a less disappointing version of Chris Stewart.
The rest of the season will tell who really won the deal. If Oshie goes to the playoffs and becomes a hero, the scale may tip. Maybe Brouwer continues his good work here. Keep in mind the Blues also got a great young goaltender in Phoenix Copley and a third round pick. Right now, they are winning the deal a fourth of the way into the season.
Next year, they will have 4.5 million dollars off the books to play with.
If you don't know who Brouwer is because you can't get over the loss of Oshie, stop that madness and plug into the present folks. It's pretty nice outside in St. Louis today.