The trades keep rolling through and after Atlanta decided to improve themselves making a deal with Boston, it only makes sense that Tampa Bay reacted accordingly on their own. The Lightning acquired St. Louis Blues captain Eric Brewer in exchange for a third round pick and the rights to 2010 draft pick Brock Beukeboom.
Tampa Bay was in the hunt for a new defenseman as they’ve been rolling with four solid and consistent guys in Brett Clark, Pavel Kubina, Mattias Ohlund, and Victor Hedman. With a cycle of names from the third pairing that included Mike Lundin, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Randy Jones, and Matt Smaby getting another defenseman that could provide steadier and better play was almost necessary for the Lightning.
With Brewer they add a guy who is a leader on and off the ice, as evidenced by his captaincy in St. Louis, and a stern defensive presence with a touch of offense. This season through 54 games, Brewer has eight goals and six assists and getting him out of St. Louis will help them out immensely. The Blues were sad to part ways with him as GM Doug Armstrong made clear.
“Eric has been tremendous to the St. Louis Blues organization and the St. Louis community,” said Armstrong. “He and his wife Rebecca are first class people and we wish them nothing but the very best.”
For St. Louis, if Jaroslav Halak’s hand injury wasn’t enough of a warning sign that their playoff hopes were in trouble, dealing their captain away to a contender should just about do it for the Blues and their fans as far as getting excited the rest of the way goes. With the team in last place in the Central Division and 13th in the conference, cleaning house like this should essentially put the Blues out of the race the rest of the way. Acquiring a pick and a prospect from Tampa Bay for Brewer was about as well as they were going to do as Brewer is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
For Tampa Bay, it’s clear that Steve Yzerman is committed at pushing for the Stanley Cup finals now. What began this season as a chance to rebuild the organization has morphed into something much bigger and with the pieces in place now and with Philadelphia and Boston having already made their moves to get better, the time was now for the Lightning to act.