Lightning Acquire Brewer To Boost Blue Line

Eric Brewer

You got the sense watching Guy Boucher’s press conference following the Tampa bay Lightning’s 6-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday evening that he was actually pleased with his team’s performance.  If you look at the numbers inside of the score, Boucher has no reason not to be happy, other than looking up at the final score. The Bolts led in shots (40-31), face-offs wins (34-28), hits (25-18), and tied the Red Wings in scoring chances for the game with 18 apiece. Where Tampa did not have the edge ended up being the difference in the game.Tampa has no defensive leadership at the blue-line on both the power play and often too many times lately has failed to clear out the slot area in the front of goaltender Dwayne Roloson. 

Leading the charge in both phases of Detroit’s game on Thursday was long time NHL great and future hall of fame defenseman, Niklas Lindstrom. While Lindstrom is not the offensive-defenseman he used to be, he still knows how to quarterback a power play and there is no question who the leader is on the bench when things get a little hairy in Detroit’s zone during the game.Lindstrom assisted on both Red Wings power play goals Thursday night. Gaining the primary assist on the first power play goal and secondary assist the

“We gave everything we had, period,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said following Thursdays game. “We just got beat by a better team than us. This is the best team in the league, the most experienced. They’ve got all their players and this is the standard for our league.” 

Surrenduring 28 golas in their last six games,  to solidify what appears to be a tired blue-line at the moment. Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman acquired 31- year-old St. Louis Blues defenseman and team Captain,  Eric Brewer.  

In exchange for Brewer, Tampa sent prospect Brock Beukeboom and a third round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft.  Brewer, who has been captain in St. Louis since the 2007-08 season, had eight goals and 14 points in 54 games for the Blues.Brewer helps fill the void created by the absence of Mike Lundin, who is out indefinitely with an abdominal injury. He is averaging more than 22 minutes of ice time per game this season, a total he has achieved in seven of the previous eight seasons. 

Yzerman said Lundin’s injury did not have a bearing on the trade because he expects the defenseman back in the coming weeks, but he believes Brewer can solidify the blue line.”He’s a very poised defenseman, a big guy who moves well,” Yzerman said. “He makes the good first pass. He’s a steady, reliable, good defenseman. I think he’s a very versatile guy who can play either side, a valuable player.”Brewer is a big physical presence that Tampa needs on the blue-line.  At  6′ 3″, 220 pounds he is a veteran of 12 NHL seasons, appearing in a total of 736 games with the Blues, Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders. Brewer does not bring much playoff experience to Tampa, just 12 career NHL playoff games, all with the Edmonton Oilers. 

Brewer, a Vernon, British Columbia native,  had to waive his no-trade clause, he said he was ”very, very excited” to play for the Lightning and get a chance at the postseason for the first time since 2003 while with the Oilers”.St. Louis is struggling with just four wins in thei last ten games. Making the playoffs is going to be a very tall order for the Blues this year. ”It’s been a while since I’ve been in the playoffs. It’s been too long, and I just wanted an opportunity at that,” Brewer said. 

Brewer finished up by saying, “Tampa is obviously a very good team. Brewer finished by saying, “ They play well, and there’s a reason why they are second in the conference. They’re a very good skating team. They move the puck. Those are both things that are important parts of my game.”Brewer was a one-time All-Star selection back in 2003 and played with Bolts GM Steve Yzerman on the 2002 Canadian Gold Medal winning Olympic hockey team.Yzerman and Boucher witnessed first hand the impact a new acquisition can have on a team’s physche.The Flyers beat Tampa Bay on Tuesday night in a shootout in what was the debut of Philadelphia’s new acquisition, Kris Versteeg. 

In sending two draft picks to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Versteeg, the Flyers received a young leader who was a key member of the Blackhawks team that beat the Flyers in the Stanley Cup final last spring.The Lightning are hoping that coupled with the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson on Jan-1 and now Eric Brewer that they can settle down on the blue-line and play more consistently. Brewer will make his debut tonight against the Florida Panther in the tenth game of the 12 game home stand.

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