The last days of captain Brewer?

The St. Louis Blues are currently sitting 9-points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. About the only thing certain for the Blues at this point in the season is that there will most certainly be some difficult decisions made in the days leading up to the February 28 trade deadline. In a season that’s had its share of positives like the emergence of David Backes, Jaroslav Halak’s strong first-half, and the development of Alex Pietrangelo – injuries have a ultimately taken their toll on the St. Louis Blues’ playoff chances.

Several Blues players have become hot topics in trade talk, captain Eric Brewer being the most common subject of rumours and speculation. Brewer is in the final year of a four-year deal and earning a cap hit of $4.25 million. With several teams looking to solidify their defence heading down the stretch, the 6’3″ 11-year veteran is becoming more attractive by the hour.

Brewer is a minute eating defensive defenceman known for his leadership and occasional physical play. His 22:14 ATOI leads all Blues, and he’s skating against opponent’s best players on most nights. He’s by no means an offensive catalyst, but his 78-hits and 85-blocked shots will tell you that he’s not afraid of a little impact. Brewer’s size and defensive play have multiple fan bases placing him near the top of their wishlists, whether it’s Boston, the Rangers, or Vancouver – the growing demand is sure to net the Blues a decent pick or NHL ready youth in return – but there are some big ‘ifs’.

There’s the matter of Brewer’s no-trade clause which, it is assumed, he would waive for the right opportunity. There’s also a prevailing notion (seems unlikely, though) that the Blues could possibly re-sign their captain in the offseason – not that a trade would right now would prevent them from reacquiring Brewer later. Trading Brewer would ostensibly signal that the Doug Armstrong is closing the book on the 2010-11 season which, as Sean Leahy pointed out on Puck Daddy, could be costly for the team.

Eric Brewer’s time in St. Louis was not without its disappointments since coming over from Edmonton in the Chris Pronger trade, but he’s stayed healthy in 2010-11 and raised his play. Everybody is looking for a defenceman as we approach the deadline and the demand is outweighing the supply. We could very well be witnessing Eric Brewer’s final days as captain of the Blues. It’s up to Doug Armstrong and ultimately Eric Brewer to decide if it’s time to go.