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The Southeast This Week

The big news in Lightning-land this week was the acquisition of Eric Brewer from the St. Louis Blues.  It's been a widely disputed transaction by fans of both teams.

Being in St. Louis, I've had the opportunity to watch Brewer for several years now.  Personally, I've never been very impressed.  I questioned the Blues' decision to name him team captain, and witnessed several poorly timed, costly turnovers.  For his size, he's pretty injury prone, having played all 82 games only once in his career and having played fewer than 65 games five times in twelve seasons.  As debatable a statistic as plus/minus may be; it should be noted that he is a career minus 106.  That's not stellar.

With all that being said, he's having quite a solid season this year.  The numbers that impress me are the 85 blocked shots, 78 hits, and +2.  +1 with a Blues team that had a -13 goal differential is pretty solid for a guy who averages about 18 to 19 minutes a game. 

It's hard to say exactly how he'll do in Tampa.  Guy Boucher's system doesn't exactly favor bigger, slower, defensive defensemen, but Bouch has certainly worked some magic with other guys so far. 

We'll take a peek at the week for the other teams in our division after the jump.

Atlanta Thrashers:  Busy week for the Thrash. 

On Tuesday, they worked out an extension with Dustin Byfuglien.  Five years, $26 million.  He's had a point in each game since then.  Maybe a few Benjamins was all he needed to end the slump. 

Then, on Friday, they shipped Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler.  This drastically improves the Thrashers in the ‘unnecessary and untimely offsides' area.  

Carolina Hurricanes:  The Canes are pretty much the epitome of a young, rebuilding team.  This week, they gave up seven goals to the New Jersey Devils in two loses, but beat the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers, holding them to two goals. 

In other news, the Hurricanes evidently enjoy dealing with the San Jose Sharks.  They dealt defenseman Ian White to San Jose for a draft pick just 90 minutes after picking up Derek Joslin for future considerations.   I've always wondered which would be more humbling: getting traded for an unknown or getting traded for some dude you think is terrible?  I'm going to say getting traded for a dude who is terrible.

Florida Panthers:  The Panthers had arguably the toughest week of anyone in the NHL, playing the Flyers, the Red Wings, and the Lightning.  After  trying to destroy Steven Stamkos handling the Bolts in a shootout the Cats now get a comfy stretch against the Islanders, the Senators, and the continually struggling Thrashers. 

(Editors note: A game against the Islanders is evidently not that comfy.)

Washington Capitals: The season of "poor" offensive output for the Caps continues.  Other than the seven goal explosion in Anaheim on Wednesday, the Caps scored only two goals in each of their other three games this week.  According to the Toronto Sun, they may be shopping Alex Semin.  

No, offering up the guy with the second most goals on your team during a season where your offense is underperforming doesn't make sense to me either.

Important games this week: Capitals at the Penguins (tonight, 2/21), Rangers at Carolina (Tuesday, 2/22), Panthers at the Thrashers (Friday, 2/25).