Capitals ship their 2011 first round pick to Chicago for Troy Brouwer

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The Washington Capitals are more interested in the present than in the future – at least when it comes to this year’s draft – so they decided to send their first round pick (26th overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks for rugged forward Troy Brouwer.

To some, their first round pick was a rather steep price for the Capitals to pay (especially since the Colorado Avalanche only received a second round pick for John Michael-Liles, an offensive defenseman is a considerably bigger impact player than Brouwer). Brouwer is also a restricted free agent this summer, so he might get nice a raise from his 2010-11 season salary of $1.025 million.

Then again, the Capitals are in win-now mode and Brouwer might help them improve in a subtle way. Brouwer was a solid contributor in Chicago, often providing a physical element to the team’s top line alongside stars such as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Brouwer doesn’t have world-beating skills but he’s a good enough finisher to compliment star players (he scored 22 goals in 09-10 and 17 last season).

It’s not that bad of a deal if Washington was unmoved by the field of prospects available. Chicago gets another first round pick out of the deal, so they were probably more than happy to oblige. The Blackhawks have compiled a nice array of high draft picks and must feel great about their future, especially with additional cap relief coming this summer.