Chris Stewart may have had more trade rumors connected to his name than any other player in the NHL this season. The Buffalo Sabres forward has struggled yet again this year, but that hasn’t prevented several teams from expressing interest in the hopes Stewart can turn things around on a new team. A report from Sportsnet.ca speculates that the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators have recently expressed interest.
Via Elliotte Friedman:
“Chris Stewart, his name has been out a lot from Buffalo. Calgary is a team that’s been linked to him for quite a bit. Another team that we’re hearing that might be interested in Chris Stewart is the Nashville Predators.”
How strange is it to think that both the Predators and Flames might be buyers this season? What a wild year. Now, on to the rumor…
Through 45 games in 2014-15, Stewart has just six goals and nine assists. While you could certainly blame Stewart’s lack of production on some of the talent he’s skating with, the 27-year-old is still showing some of the troubling signs which resulted in the Blues trading him to the Sabres in the first place. Those traits include inconsistent effort, sluggish skating on defense and an overall hustle that leaves a lot to be desired.
With all of the above in mind, why would a team want Stewart? Simply, he’s a rental with a bit of upside. Stewart is owed $4.2 million this season with a cap hit of $4.15 million, but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next season. The cap hit and salary is manageable and Stewart’s disappointing play should make him an extremely affordable addition. A team won’t have to spend a lot in order for the Sabres to cut bait. As for what Stewart brings to the table, he’s a physical presence who on occasion can get red hot and pop in a bunch of points in a short period of time. He’d likely boost a team’s third line. If a team believes they need a bit more muscle and grit, Stewart would be an improvement.