Eric Brewer, left, helped Tampa Bay shut down and upset Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in the playoffs. ((John Raoux/Associated Press))

The Tampa Bay Lightning liked what they saw from Eric Brewer over a four-month period enough to give him a four-year contract.

The NHL club announced the signing of the veteran defenceman, who played in 40 regular season and playoff games after coming over in a trade with St. Louis. He was due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"We are very pleased to get Eric re-signed today," general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement Friday.  "He was an important part of our team after being acquired at last year's deadline and he played a key role in the playoffs both on and off the ice."

Yzerman and Brewer were teammates on the 2002 Canadian Olympic gold medal hockey team.

Brewer, 32, has also played for the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers in a career that began in 1998.

He has played 758 career NHL games, scoring 65 goals and 145 assists, to go along with 618 penalty minutes.

The Vernon, B.C, native had one goal and six assists with a minus-3 rating in 18 playoff games as Tampa Bay was eliminated on the cusp of the Stanley Cup Final by eventual champions Boston.

"I’m happy to be a part of the Lightning going forward," Brewer said.  "The organization is clearly moving in the right direction and I’m proud to be a part of it."

The team did not release financial details, but multiple reports suggest the contract will average $4 million US per season.

More to come for Yzerman

The Lightning also signed restricted free agent Blair Jones to a two-way contract on Friday.

The Craik, Sask., native has appeared in 56 career regular season games, with two goals and four assists.

Yzerman still has several items of business on his agenda. The team's unrestricted free agents include goalies Mike Smith and Dwayne Roloson, playoff upstart Sean Bergenheim, and veteran forwards Simon Gagne and Adam Hall.

Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos are among the restricted free agents. Stamkos in particular is likely to be in line for a significant raise after scoring 96 goals over the past two seasons.