Today the Lightning got in on the trade action and sent away the most awesome-named person in the organization (Brock Beukeboom) along with a third round pick in 2011 to St. Louis for defenseman Eric Brewer. This is just the trade we were calling for a couple of weeks ago when we said the Lightning needed to toughen up their defense. Brewer brings leadership to the Bolts as well: he has served as captain of the Blues since the 07-08 season. He will wear number 2 since his old number 4 is taken by Bolts captain Vinny Lecavalier
Brewer is a 31 year old vet who averages over 22 minutes of ice time per game. The Lightning defensive corps has five players who average between 19 and 21 minutes per night. He currently is tied with his career high in goals at 8, a feat he has reached for the third time. His career high in assists is 29 in 06-07. So far, he has 8 goals and 6 assists for 14 points and a plus-1 rating in 54 games this season.
The Blues have virtually given up on the playoff spot with Jaroslav Halak on IR, so they are becoming a seller at this year’s deadline. This was their first deal, but don’t be surprised if they continue to send away some of their veteran players as their younger players come along.
The Blues’ loss of their captain is certainly the Lightning’s gain. Brewer’s leadership is just what the Bolts’ blueline needs. He is a solid defender who plays a lot of minutes, and you can never have too many of those, especially if you are preparing for a long playoff run.
It will be interesting to see how Steve Yzerman spends the rest of trade season. This is a great start, and if the Lightning could add maybe one more shutdown defenseman or a secondary scorer, they will be even more dangerous than they already are.
This is the second time Yzerman has seen a glaring need in this team and addressed it for the better. He has shown a willingness to make decisions, and it’s noteworthy that he isn’t a timid first-time GM. The watch until February 28 should be an interesting one.