While it's true that he could go to the minors, the fact that it's a one-way makes me think he'll prolly be with the big club. If the kids are ready to go, then they might not have more to show in the minors, too. As a guy on Twitter said, coaches will bench rookies who do the wrong thing by mistake in favor of veterans who do the wrong thing on purpose. It's a cultural thing.
True, and I'm not saying that won't happen. But I don't see the fact that the contract is one-way makes a big difference. So they are going to pay him $850,000 no matter what. If he is the 17th best forward in the organization, there is no reason why he should be on the NHL roster. I agree that coaches generally pull kids out when they make a couple bad mistakes, but that doesn't mean that Brouwer won't start in the AHL or the kids will be bad enough to get benched for Brouwer.
My point, though, was this was a good signing because you either get a good fourth line player in Brouwer, or you get organizational depth because you can send him to the minors and bring him back whenever you want.
Let's say Owen Tippett makes the team out of camp and has ten bad games in his own zone. Well, you probably want him to play a lot to learn and grow. Maybe he doesn't have anything left to prove offensively in the AHL. He obviously isn't up to par defensively for the NHL. You tell him go play in the AHL for a couple of weeks to work on your defensive game, while we bring up a guy we know can play in all three zones. Give the kid a couple games to correct some of his bad habits, bring him back up, and send the veteran back down. You can't afford to give away games to develop aspects of young players games. If you give Owen Tippett a month to correct his mistakes at the NHL level, you could end up missing the playoffs by one point again.
Just an example. Not trying to rag on Tippett or any of the young guys. It's a cut throat world in the NHL, and if you aren't ready, you need to keep your feet moving. If the Panthers have someone that can play a few games to help the kids learn and grow more, that's good. If he plays 76 games in the AHL this year, no big deal.
Look at Kevin Labanc of the Sharks last season. He had a bad couple of weeks. He went down the AHL, played a few games, and then came back up and tore up the rest of the season. He still has some things to work on, but the fact that he could take advantage of a lesser league for 8 games taught him some better habits, and now he will likely be a top 6 forward for the Sharks this season.