Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer has a new four-year contract
The Tampa Bay Lightning finally announced what had been reported for several hours previously, that defenseman Eric Brewer has signed a four-year contract. It is believed to be worth a bit less than $16 million. Several reports had the average at $3.85 million a season. Brewer would have been an unrestricted free agent if he had not signed by July 1.
The team also announced forward Blair Jones has a new two-way deal.
It always was believed Brewer and star center Steven Stamkos were at the top of general manager Steve Yzerman's priority list, in part because knowing their costs will help Yzerman know how much he has to spend on other players. The same approach, to a somewhat less extent, applies to goaltender Dwayne Roloson.
Brewer was a terrific pickup for Tampa Bay. He led the team during the playoffs with an average 25:36 of ice time and 51 blocked shots. He tied Ryan Malone for the lead with 43 hits.
Yzerman said he also continues to talk to Todd Diamond, agent for potential UFA Sean Bergenheim. Diamond and Yzerman have said the sides, basically, agreed to disagree on what Bergenheim should be paid. But Yzerman said he is keeping the lines of communication open.
"I'd hate to just give up on him," Yzerman said of signing Bergenheim before July 1, when he becomes unrestricted.
Yzerman said he also plans this weekend on talking to the agents for Roloson and Stamkos.
Stamkos is an interesting case. The center on Tuesday said he believed he was close to a new contract, but there was no such confirmation from Meehan, Stamkos' other agent, Mark Guy, or Yzerman. Perhaps that is because both sides agreed to keep negotiations out of the media.
Or perhaps they are close. Yzerman certainly didn't sound rushed on Thursday when asked about negotiations.
"I've talked on the phone with (Meehan)," he said. "They're busy. They have a lot of clients here for the draft. We'll get a chance to speak here and, if not, during next week we'll pick it up again."
Stamkos will be a restricted free agent if he is not signed by July 1.