Brewer is not cheap. His salary this year is 2.5 million and he'll want more next year as his contract is up. He held out the last negotiation till the last minute and as he has an inflated idea of his own value, he'll dig in his heels again.
The first half of his season was poor as usual and while he's come on the last month or so, he still isn't where he should be considering his physical talent. His head and heart haven't been into it on a consistant basis this year or any other year so far.
That's why you hear his name mentioned by fans and media in trade rumors. Edmonton has been waiting for his breakout year for 3 years and is spite of being given every opportunity, it hasn't happened yet.
Smith makes 2.3 million and is 30 years old. He's had his first really good season in 3 years so may want a substantial raise. He's also a small city guy from Calgary who likes the low-key life, even more so than Niinimaa, so he may not be a fit in LI.
You would certainly know better than I. What do the Edmonton media and fans think will be his ceiling in terms of ability? Is there consensus as to whether he can one day become a dominant #1 defenceman?