TAMPA - The Lightning has traded defenseman Eric Brewer to the Ducks for a 2015 third-round pick, the team announced Friday afternoon.
The trade ends Brewer's up and down season with the Lightning. The 35-year-old was a key part of the team that made the 2011 Eastern Conference finals and served as an alternate captain last season.
He was a healthy scratch for the team's first two games this year, then was an alternate captain in the next one. Brewer had four assists in 17 games, but he was a healthy scratch in four of the last five games.
The 6-foot-4, 216-pound Brewer had been scratched to give 24-year-old Mark Barberio more opportunities. Coach Jon Cooper said Barberio's game Wednesday night was the best he had seen him play.
The move comes as Hedman gets closer to returning from the fractured right finger that has sidelined him for more than a month. Cooper called Hedman questionable to return tonight against Ottawa.
Whenever Hedman returns, the Lightning faced tough decisions because of its depth, and neither Vladislav Namestnikov nor Cedric Paquette seemed ready to be sent back to Syracuse to clear a roster spot for Hedman.
"We're going to have to figure that out, how this is going to work…" Cooper said, hours before the trade was announced. "This is hard for me to comment on right now."
The move gives the Lightning more flexibility under the salary cap. Brewer had a cap hit of $3.875 million and was in the last year of a four-year contract.
Brewer was the No. 5 overall pick to the Islanders in 1997 and became a captain for the Blues before St. Louis sent him to the Lightning in 2011. He has appeared in 982 games over his NHL career and had 10 goals and 46 assists with the Lightning.
The Lightning's new draft pick was originally acquired by the Ducks from Edmonton.