Apr 21, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer (2) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Brewer: Declining Skills?

When Eric Brewer was traded to the Lightning from the St. Louis Blues, I was pretty optimistic about getting a defenseman who had the skills and the leadership abilities to make a difference for our team. Now, I’m not so sure.

For a player that was the 5th pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, he certainly came into the league with both promise and potential.

I find it interesting that then Islander coach Butch Goring benched Brewer for “laziness,” and then the club sent him to the Lowell Lock Monsters where he stayed until he was traded to Edmonton prior to the following season.

Eric Brewer is an Olympic champion, a former Captain of the St. Louis Blues, and at 6″3″ and 220, he has the size to make a big difference on the blue line. I just don’t see it on a consistent basis. Age affects some players more than others and maybe at 34 years old, he’s on his career’s downward slope.

I guess passion is the commodity that is routinely missing in his game. He seems to have extended lapses in his play with the occasional bonehead mistake thrown in at the most inappropriate moment. On the flip side, when he’s at his best, I see the Eric Brewer clothed in that Olympic intensity and bringing a Captain’s leadership to the ice.

My hope is that Eric Brewer has his act together in 2013-14. The Lightning need his “A” game on a blue line that, at best, had a “C” rating last season.

Tags: Eric Brewer National Hockey League Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Dan Alpha

    Well said. Both Butch Goring *and* Mike Keenan had similar issues with Brewer.

    I had received a “heads-up” from a handful of Blues’ fans (whom I frequently corresponded with) when the trade was consummated, essentially mirroring your thoughts: That he lacks an innate and consistent sense of urgency.

    There are moments when his size and veteran-experience are reflected in quiet, confident, sound play – But (unfortunately) they are, more often than not, scarce.

    His inability to maintain an unflagging level of focus and discipline – his inopportunely casual play – renders him a liability.

    It must become one of Coop’s primary responsibilities/goals to engage him (and Ryan Malone, if we’re discussing players similarly prone to distraction) in an “all in” team-philosophy.