#2 Eric Brewer
2013 (NHL): 48-4-8-12
It was a strange season for Eric Brewer. At times last year, he was a pillar of stability on the Lightning blueline, making solid, smart, predictable plays. At other times, his play was less than inspiring. He disappeared for large portions of the season, despite not missing a game.
At his best, Brewer is a smart, physical player. He’s lost a step over the years, but his speed remains good for an NHL defenseman. But with deteriorating skills comes a need for better decision making. Luckily, Brewer tends to make safe plays (usually).
The influx of young talent coming up through the Lightning organization will continue to push Brewer down the depth chart in the next few years. There’s a good chance GM Steve Yzerman will try to move the veteran defenseman, but it’s unlikely another team will want to take on Brewer’s contract without a significant improvement in his play.
That said, if Brewer plays in the range of sixteen to eighteen minutes per game with the Lightning, it will be a good sign. It will mean the young players are taking over the reins, and Brewer should be more than capable of providing safe, solid, reduced minutes.
What he provides: At best, solid defense, minor offense.
Where he’ll play: Splits time between 2nd and 3rd Pairing, special teams duty.
Best case scenario: Reduced minutes meaning a passing of the torch, or the discovery of the fountain of youth.
Worst case scenario: Gets minutes for his contract rather than his play.
Forecast: 15-20 points, finishes season as 5th/6th defenseman, reduced minutes (>20 per game), possibly traded on deadline day.