The St. Louis Blues sent their captain, Eric Brewer, packing for sunny Tampa Bay today in exchange for defensive prospect Brock Beukeboom and a third-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Gauging the value of a defenseman in fantasy hockey honestly has nothing to do with how a player performs in real life. For example, a player like Brewer’s now-former teammate Roman Polak is a defenseman I would take on my real-life team any day. However, since most fantasy leagues count mostly offensive statistics like goals, assists, powerplay points, etc. a guy like Polak, with one goal and five points through 31 games, makes no difference to your team.
Having said all that, we like the move for the Lightning. Brewer, a solid two-way defender, can help out on the second powerplay unit and take valuable minutes off of the current blue line. The Lighning have seen a bunch of their players banged up, notably Mike Lundin, Randy Jones and Mattias Ohlund and now can take the pressure off of them– if they are even in the lineup.
With the Blues, Brewer averaged 22:14 a game, which is almost a minute more than Victor Hedman– who leads the current Lightning corps in that category. In addition, Brewer’s 85 blocked shots rank fourth while his 78 hits would rank second.
In other words, the Lightning and Steve Yzerman acquire a defenseman who helps more defensively than the majority of what they already have. With a strong offensive roster, adding depth in this department should help this young identity in the postseason not to mention Dwayne Roloson since a steady defense helps a goaltender attain consistency.
To summarize, classify this move as one that helps in real life and not on paper. However, on paper the Lightning now tightened up defensively and should only benefit for the stretch run.