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Reflecting on Troy Brouwer’s first five games in return to St. Louis

After five games played, small sample size previews Brouwer’s second time as a Blue

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

After signing a $750,000 one-year, two-way contract with St. Louis on Nov. 20, and now with five games under his belt, it is fair to judge the beginning of Troy Brower’s second stint as a Blue.

With the injuries to Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, Sammy Blais and most recently, Oskar Sundqvist, this signing seems to be working (for now). Looking at the team’s record since activating Brouwer, 4-0-1 in their last five, the 13-year veteran has yet to post a point for the Blues despite averaging a little over 10 minutes of ice time per game.

Comparing Brouwer with a player such as Mackenzie MacEachern, who is also signed to a $750,000 contract through the 2019-20 season, has averaged about the same amount of ice time but has a goal in each of his last two games.

It is important to remember, though, that this is not exactly the same Troy Brouwer who helped the Blues reach the Western Conference Final in 2015-16. Instead, this is a veteran who was signed after a professional tryout that was looking to get back in the game.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong said after signing both Brouwer and Jamie McGinn to professional tryouts, that the roster at the time lacked experience in a league which often demands it.

As much as a team-oriented sport that hockey is, it also requires players to serve in different individual roles in order for the team to succeed. The Blues lost multiple impactful players, and those missing roles have to be filled – This is the ‘next man up’ frame of mind within the team that everyone keeps talking about.

How does Brouwer fit into that? It seems that he knows his role and despite failing to post a point through five games, he is giving the other third and fourth liners an opportunity to fill the missing roles. While the scoring is absent, Brouwer has registered 11 hits in his short sample size and will find his offensive game eventually.

Going back to what was said before, this is not the same Troy Brouwer who exorcised the Blackhawks in 2016. This is a player who was unsigned at the start of this season that was brought in to give aid and experience to a banged-up Blues team.

For now, this will work, but I do expect and hope that the points come eventually. As much fun as this team is to watch, who would not love watching Troy Brouwer bring down the house at Enterprise Center just a few more times.