Free agent Troy Brouwer thinks about joining Canucks

Watch as Troy Brouwer bats the puck in out of mid-air to give the Blues the lead over the Sharks.

Smart move, Troy Brouwer.

More than a month ahead of unrestricted free agency, the St. Louis Blues forward just upped his popularity in his hometown by speaking favourably about joining the Vancouver Canucks this summer.

“I have thought about it, for sure,” the North Deta native told Vancouver’s News 1130 Sports Monday. “Family and friends, playing for my hometown — it would be an experience for sure.”

The 30-year-old Brouwer raised his stock considerably by playing a key role in the Blues’ run to the Western Conference final. The winger scored eight goals (one fewer than team leader Vladimir Tarasenko), added five assists, and logged nearly 19 minutes per night this post-season.

“It’s definitely a team, a city and a franchise I’d like to come back to if the opportunity makes itself available,” Brouwer said of St. Louis after being eliminated by San Jose.

Simple finances may prevent a re-signing, however.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound Brouwer will be coveted by the competition and should see a raise from his current $3.67-million salary cap hit. The winger said he would love to return to St. Louis, but there’s only so much dough to go around — and a chunk of that should go to RFA Jaden Schwartz, in need of a raise from his $2.35 million salary.

READ MORE: Big off-season questions loom for St. Louis Blues

“My dad was a huge Canucks fan. Mark Messier was a big influence in my hockey career. I watched him a lot in Vancouver,” Brouwer said Monday. “[It would] definitely be a great experience to play for the hometown team and see what it’s like, but I don’t know what the Canucks’ plans are.”

Vancouver, which whiffed on the 2016 post-season, appears keen to contend for a playoff spot in 2017. Last week GM Jim Benning traded a young, small forward in Jared McCann to Florida for defenceman Erik Gudbranson, partly because Benning wants a bigger team to match up against rugged Pacific Division opponents.

The veteran Brouwer has 150 goals and 294 points over 613 NHL games played with Chicago, Washington and St. Louis.

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