Even though the St. Louis Blues just traded him to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, RW Chris Stewart could be on the move again before Wednesday's trade deadline. Dealt from Colorado in 2011, Stewart went on to help his new team exponentially. If the Sabres decide they don't want to keep him, the gritty forward would provide plenty of upside for any contending team.
Since coming over from Colorado, Chris Stewart has averaged just under 16 in his four years in the Gateway City while averaging 13 assists per campaign. While I am the first to admit that those aren't exactly enticing numbers, he is a +2 which is actually better than most of the players who might be dealt this coming week.
At 6'2, 228 pounds, Stewart certainly would fit the Kings' bill with his size. In 58 games this season, the 26-year-old has dished out 76 hits while recording 112 penalty minutes, many of which have come from dropping the gloves. With Jordan Nolan only sparring once in a while and Kyle Clifford dropping the mitts less and less after suffering a concussion, Chris Stewart may be just what the Kings need to fire up their bench.
Also, a right-winger, the Toronto native would arrive to a team that's somewhat depleted at said position. Both Justin Williams and Dustin Browns play on the right side as does recent call-up Linden Vey. RW Matt Frattin, however, has been a colossal disappointment in his maiden season with the Kings thus far and, assuming they don't deal him before Wednesday, should be seeing a lot of the press box down the stretch. With all that said, should Stewart be donning the silver-and-black next week, he should fit in on the team's third line.
In his 58 games this season, Stewart has scored 15 goals. Of those 15 tallies, three have been on the power play with three have been game-winners. It is also notable to point out that three of Stewart's 11 assists this season have also come on the man-advantage.
In addition, the rugged winger has registered 107 shots and averages a paltry 13:41 of ice time. Fans and experts alike can go either way with both stats. But should Stewart become a King, there will be concern about head coach Darryl Sutter's penchant for changing a player's position. If this does happen, Stewart would not be a good fit as a center. This season, Stewart's faceoff percentage is a woeful 32.0.
In terms of his contract, Chris Stewart still has another year left after this season. Should the Kings acquire him and decide to keep him beyond this season, they will have to do so while dealing with a cap hit of $4.15 million. While the league salary cap is increasing next season, only time will tell whether taking on said salary will be too rich for Dean Lombardi's blood or not.
As a sidenote, Chris's older brother Anthony was part of the Kings organization last season but spent his time in the AHL with Manchester. While Anthony has since moved onto the KHL, his brother hopes to have a more successful stint with the organization.
What the Buffalo Sabres are asking for is unknown at this point but considering they traded their franchise netminder to get Stewart, chances are that they'll be asking for a lot. Stewart does have the ability to help turn the luck of the Buffalo Sabres around. He won't do such a thing this season but next season and beyond is a different story. But again, not to keep a player of Stewart's talents might very likely be costly and the Los Angeles Kings would have to decide whether the right-winger will be worth the asking price.
Since coming over from St. Louis on Friday, however, it appears that if the Sabres are shopping Chris Stewart, the Ottawa Senators appear to be the front-runner. But crazy things tend to happen the closer a trade deadline so we'll have to see how this one plays out.
As far as I'm concerned, the good far outweighs the bad in terms of Chris Stewart's potential contribution to Los Angeles. Whether Kings management agrees or not is certainly a different story. Nevertheless, it is something worth seriously thinking about - even if he did have the gall to shush the Staples Center crowd during the 2012 playoffs,