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
|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
|1999-00||LOWELL LOCK MONSTERS-AHL||25||2||2||4||-6||26||1||0||0||35||5.7|
CAREER PLAYOFF STATISTICS
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 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.
- 84. Tom Poti
- 85. Radek Dvorak
- 86. Igor Kravchuk
- 87. Lubomir Visnovsky
- 88. Luke Richardson
- 89. Willy Lindstrom
- 90. Bryan Marchment
- 91. Miroslav Satan
- 92. David Perron
- 93. Igor Ulanov
- 94. Justin Schultz
- 95. Scott Mellanby