McClure and I were at the bar last night (how many of these fucking entries begin that way?) discussing a phenomena that has us both stumped. After commenting yesterday how impressed I've been with Troy Brouwer's play this year -- and then speculating when it comes time to make a move that Brouwer's play makes Buff more expendable, along with Aliu and Beach in the pipeline -- people are still criticizing Brouwer. Let's clear a couple things up here. First of all, if you're criticizing Brouwer this season, then you haven't watched any games. Oh sure, you may look at them, maybe even think you're watching it, but you're not. Brouwer is doing everything right this season. He's been physical, even more physical than Byfuglien. He also kills penalties and has been quite good at that. He is always in the right spot, and will eventually be rewarded for that.
That does not mean I'm actively advocating moving Buff. However, if the Hawks think they need to add a piece -- say a #6 d-man or new goalie -- someone's got to go. Secondly, someone's got to go to clear space for Cap Apocalypse in the summer anyway. Of the three most likely -- Buff, Barker, and Versteeg -- Buff is the most replaceable. It's funny, for months last season Buff was the whipping boy around here. Then he has one good playoff series (and only one as he didn't do much against either Calgary or Detroit) and suddenly he's a hero. Since the opening two games of the season, Buff has done jack and shit this year. You have to get cheaper somewhere, and here's one place you can. Not only would Brouwer have no problem getting to the front of the net as Buff does, but he'd do it quicker. He's more responsible in his own zone, and isn't nullified when playing speedier teams like Detroit.
Versteeg is the only one other than Kane who's a straight-up playmaker. Barker runs one of the power play units. We don't have anyone else to do those things when they go. We have replacements for Buff. This is my point, dude.