TOP 100 OILERS: ERIC BREWER (83)

Eric Brewer played 315 games as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, but he’ll be remembered by many fans for how he arrived and how he departed almost as much as the parts of four seasons he spent patrolling the blue line in this town. That would be selling him short.

Brewer, the fifth overall pick by the New York Islanders in 1997, was just 21 when he arrived in Edmonton, acquired with Josh Green and a second-round pick that became Brad Winchester for stud blueliner Roman Hamrlik at the 2000 Entry Draft during Kevin Lowe’s first summer as GM. Five years later, Lowe sent Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch to the St. Louis Blues for Chris Pronger. 

Eric Brewer #2

Defenseman

NUMBER: 2 BIRTHDATE: April 17, 1979
HEIGHT: 6′ 4″ BIRTHPLACE:  Vernon, BC, Canada
WEIGHT: 216 DRAFTED: NYI / 1997 NHL Entry Draft
SHOOTS: Left ROUND: 1st round (5th overall)

BY THE NUMBERS

CAREER REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS

SEASON TEAM GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG S S%
1997-98 CANADA-WJC-A 7 0 2 2 8
1998-99 ISLANDERS 63 5 6 11 -14 32 2 0 0 63 7.9
1999-00 ISLANDERS 26 0 2 2 -11 20 0 0 0 30 0.0
1999-00 LOWELL LOCK MONSTERS-AHL 25 2 2 4 -6 26 1 0 0 35 5.7
2000-01 OILERS 77 7 14 21 15 53 2 0 2 91 7.7
2000-01 CANADA-WC-A 7 0 2 2 6
2001-02 OILERS 81 7 18 25 -5 45 6 0 2 165 4.2
2001-02 CANADA-OLYMPICS 6 2 0 2 0
2001-02 CANADA-WC-A 7 2 3 5 4
2002-03 OILERS 80 8 21 29 -11 45 1 0 1 147 5.4
2002-03 CANADA-WC-A 9 1 2 3 8
2003-04 OILERS 77 7 18 25 -6 67 3 0 1 135 5.2
2003-04 CANADA-WC-A 9 1 1 2 6
2004-05 CANADA-W-CUP 6 1 3 4 6 4
2005-06 BLUES 32 6 3 9 -17 45 1 0 1 64 9.4
2006-07 BLUES 82 6 23 29 -10 69 2 0 1 111 5.4
2006-07 CANADA-WC-A 9 1 3 4 6
2007-08 BLUES 77 1 21 22 -18 91 0 0 0 101 1.0
2008-09 BLUES 28 1 5 6 -14 24 1 0 0 49 2.0
2009-10 BLUES 59 8 7 15 -17 46 0 0 0 84 9.5
2010-11 BLUES 54 8 6 14 1 57 0 0 1 86 9.3
2010-11 LIGHTNING 22 1 1 2 5 24 0 0 0 24 4.2
2011-12 LIGHTNING 82 1 20 21 -5 49 0 0 0 83 1.2
2012-13 LIGHTNING 48 4 8 12 3 30 1 0 1 56 7.1
2013-14 LIGHTNING 77 4 13 17 10 59 0 0 2 83 4.8
2014-15 LIGHTNING 17 0 4 4 5 18 0 0 0 14 0.0
2014-15 DUCKS 9 1 1 2 -6 6 0 0 0 7 14.3
2014-15 MAPLE LEAFS 18 2 3 5 -4 12 0 0 1 12 16.7
NHL TOTALS 1,009  77  194  271  -99  792  19 0 13 1,405  5.5

CAREER PLAYOFF STATISTICS

SEASON TEAM GP  A P +/-  PIM  PPG  SHG  GWG  S S%
2000-01 OILERS 6 1 5 6 -3 2 1 0 0 11 9.1
2002-03 OILERS 6 1 3 4 1 6 0 0 0 9 11.1
2006-07 CANADA-WC-A 0 0 0.0
2010-11 LIGHTNING 18 1 6 7 -3 14 0 0 0 26 3.8
2013-14 LIGHTNING 4 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0 3 0.0
NHL TOTALS 34 3 14  17  -7 22 1 0 0 49  6.1

NOTABLE

Lowe gave up a proven commodity in Hamrlik to get a pair of forwards who’d pan out to be no more than role players in Green and Winchester in the Brewer trade, but in the pre-salary cap days, the move made the Oilers younger and cheaper, which mattered during the era of EIG ownership.

The Oilers made out considerably better on Brewer’s way out the door, getting the Human Rake, who’d be the backbone of Edmonton’s unlikely march to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup in his only season here. In between, Brewer, who lacked the one dimension, the sizzle, to live up to being drafted when he was by the Islanders, played some good hockey.

While Brewer didn’t knock your socks off with any one aspect of his game, he was the dictionary definition of an all-around player. Brewer could skate for a big man (six-foot-four and 215 pounds). He could play a shut-down role. He chipped in offensively at a steady, if unspectacular, rate. He was durable. Brewer had a big stack of hockey IQ. He was a smart guy, period.

THE STORY

The Oilers had a balanced group on the blueline when Brewer arrived, a bit of everything in veterans like Frank Musil, Igor Ulanov and Jason Smith to go with talented Janne Niinimaa, Tom Poti and hard-nosed Sean Brown. He didn’t have to play big minutes and was allowed to ease in – his average ice time of 18:31 a game was fifth among Oiler defencemen.

After two years in Long Island, Brewer, essentially, blossomed here. After his first season in Edmonton, he averaged more than 24 minutes per game with the Oilers. He had 21 points in his first season with the Oilers, then had subsequent years of 25, 29 (a career-high) and 25 points. He was a member of Canada’s Olympic gold medal team in 2002.

By the end of the 2003-04 season, Brewer’s stock had risen enough that the deal with the Blues for Pronger was possible after the lost 2004-05 lockout season. Brewer would play another decade after leaving Edmonton, but it’s not a stretch to suggest some of his best years were spent in Oiler silks.

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

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  • I am going to assume Janne Niinimaa will be on the list, can you please explain what happened to him after leaving the oilers. from what I have been able to gather his play deteriorated quickly after leaving Edmonton. I was always a fan and always wondered just what happened.

  • Love reading this series and comparing it to my own list. Sometimes I’m left scratching my head wondering why you ranked some players so high or low and other times you leave me thinking the same thing about my own list.

    I had Brewer at 46, which was maybe a bit high, but I was a big fan of what he brought. I thought he was a bit miscast due to his speed, and therefore was really underrated by a fans & media.

    Nice to remember some of the old Oilers as a distraction from our current woes!

  • I liked Brewer as a player, and thought he played some good hockey for the oilers, but I do recall him being a bit of a specialist when it came to over skating the puck behind the net, or fanning on outlet passes.

  • I always reference Brewer in discussions of big guys who dominate at Junior and struggle with the transition to pro because they are no longer the superior physical specimen.

    He could be a wrecking ball in the Dub, fly down the ice on a rush and guys bounced off him.

    In pro they quit bouncing and he kind of took that element out of his arsenal.

    In todays game we see much the same thing with a guy like Darnell, so much focus on D and responsible structure and alliance with the system and all that stuff. Result……these kids with the skill set to push the play forward get their offensive drive muted in the interest of serving mistake free hockey.

    Its kinda sad really. And boring as all get up but thats another story.

    I hack on Karlsson for his suspect one on one ability but his river boat gambler mentality is refreshing in this day and age. Gotta have thick skin and a large ego to roll the way he does and it is applause worthy given this mistake focused social media driven environment.

  • Aendayana777

    Eric was a very good dman for the Oilers, I enjoyed his play. Looking back you can see how influential KLowe was for getting him to the Olympics though. I don’t think he would have made it otherwise. On an interesting note, from Bryan Marchment-Roman Hamrlik-Eric Brewer-Chris Pronger-Ladi Smid some good d through that trade route. Lets not forget Harmonic turned out to be the 2nd round pick as well from the last trade there. Only if we kept it eh?