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Should The Oilers Trade For Eric Brewer?

A reader wants to know if Eric Brewer would help.

Andre Ringuette

A regular lurker at Copper & Blue sent me this IM:

Hey Derek, what do you think of trading for Eric Brewer if the Lightning take back salary?  McKenzie said he was available and the Oilers and Lightning have traded before.

He was referring to this video, where Bob McKenzie says:

The Buffalo Sabres have a coulple of guys that will be unrestricted at the end of the year. Teams are looking at Chris Stewart, Drew Stafford. Tim Murray, the general manager in Buffalo, might want to parlay one of those guys who is going to be unrestricted into a young prospect. Travis Moen from Montreal Canadiens, his name is out there. Eric Brewer from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Healthy scratch in their opener. He's also out there.

John Fontana gives Brewer a nod for his reliability:

"Eric Brewer, 7th defenseman," just doesn't sound right. Though opinions by Lightning fans on Eric "Brewbot" Brewer haven't been high at times, he's a capable defenseman who has been reliable for Tampa Bay on the blue line. He had been a vital cog in lean defenses of years gone by for the Lightning.

Alan and I have been talking about Viktor Hedman for awhile now, well before the more vocal noticed him, and it's Hedman that drives Tampa Bay's defense, even with the additions of Matt Carle, Jason Garrison and Anton Stralman.  Hedman's presence in Tampa Bay is akin to that of Zdeno Chara in Boston and we all know how that worked out for the Oilers.  It's likely that Hedman's presence inflates Brewer's numbers a bit and coming to a weak team like Edmonton, he may be exposed.  That being said...

I'd snap call on this trade if Andrew Ference were involved but Tampa needs cap space and Steve Yzerman isn't going to take on that terrible contract.  If Tampa is willing to take back salary and the Oilers can get away with sending away something like a 5th round pick, go for it.  Brewer can't be worse than Ference and his contract is up in April.

If the Oilers were to trade for Brewer, recall Martin Marincin. send Ference to the press box and Brad Hunt back to the AHL, they might be able to stabilize that defense.  But benching Ference is a long-shot, much like trading for Brewer at this point.