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Brewer "very, very excited" to join Lightning



Veteran defenseman Eric Brewer, the Blues captain acquired by the Lightning today, said he's "very, very excited" to join Tampa Bay's playoff push.

Brewer, a 12-year-veteran, last played in the Stanley Cup playoffs back in 2003 with the Oilers. Safe to say, it's one reason why he waived his no-trade clause to come to Tampa Bay, in exchange for a third-round pick and defensive prospect Brock Beukeboom. Brewer, 31, said he'll be in town Saturday and available to play against the Panthers.

"It's been a while since I've been in the playoffs, it's been too long, and I just wanted an opportunity at that," Brewer said Friday night. "Tampa is obviously a very good team. While I can't say I'm familiar with all the Eastern Conference teams, we played them a couple weeks ago, got a little of a feel for how they are. They play well and there's a reason why they are second in the conference."

"They're a very good skating team, they move the puck. Those are both things that are important parts of my game, skating and moving the puck. It seems, from the outside looking in, it seems to be a good fit."

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said Brewer has been on the team's radar since their mid-season meeting with scouts. Though the fact the club has a need for a top-four defenseman with D Mike Lundin out indefinitely with an abdominal injury, Yzerman said that didn't really have any bearing on the move. They were seeking a defenseman who could help them match up better against opposing team's top lines, and feel Brewer fits the bill.

"He's been around for a number of years now, been through a lot," Yzerman said. "He's a very poised defenseman, big guy, he moves well. He makes the good first pass, he's a good defender, and in the new NHL, I think he's adapted well...and he's a really a high character person that will fit in really well with our locker room."

Yzerman said he's had no intention on trading a first or second round pick, "It'd have to be something incredibly special to do that." But he recognized in order to acquire a player like Brewer, he had to give up something. Yzerman said Brewer is a versatile defenseman who could play both sides of the blue line, and while he can help on the power play if needed, he'll mostly be impacting the other end.

Brewer, who recently welcomed a baby girl (Hadley, who is 13 days old) to join 3-year-old Reese, said he's unsure what the future will hold - he's an unrestricted free agent after the season. But when Blues general manager Doug Armstrong came to him earlier this week to discuss the potential moves, Brewer welcomed the opportunity to come to Tampa Bay. And he feels, after some injuries he's dealt with over the past several years, he's where he wants to be.

"I've felt the best I've felt in a while," he said. "I've skated much better this year, a little bit quicker, a little bit stronger."

While Yzerman said he'll always be evaluating his team, as far as more potential dealing before the trade deadline, he said, "I think the majority of our moves have been made."


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