29-Year-Old Right Wing – Minnesota Wild
Chris Stewart Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $2.3 million contract with the Wild in July of 2016.
Stewart scored two goals with five shots on goal in Thursday's win over Chicago.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Once upon a time, Stewart scored 28 goals and 64 points in 77 games as a bruising second-year forward for the Avalanche. But that was seven years ago, and his career has been a mess of injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Last year saw him offer both, as he played in only 56 games for the Ducks and tallied just 20 points. The Wild apparently saw enough to offer him a two-year contract, though, so he’ll return for his second stint with them – the first being 20 games after a 2015 trade to Minnesota, a period in which he played some of his better hockey. Nonetheless, thanks to a deep crew at right wing, he’s almost certainly ticketed for fourth-line minutes and therefore minimal fantasy relevance.
Stewart split the 2014-15 season between the Sabres and Wild, racking up 14 goals and 36 points in 81 games. The power forward signed a one-year contract with Anaheim in July, making the Ducks the fourth different team he'll play for in just the last two years. The 27-year-old has never been able to replicate the success of his 28-goal, 64-point sophomore campaign with Colorado in 2009-10, struggling with consistency issues and turning into more of a 15-goal, 30-point type over time. The 6-foot-2, 231-pound winger gets a fresh start in Southern California and could thrive as a member of a potent offense that includes Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Carl Hagelin. He scored five power-play goals with the lowly Sabres last season, and given his healthy shot and PIM totals, Stewart could make for a late-round steal in fantasy drafts. If he secures a role on the Ducks’ second power-play unit and can avoid lengthy droughts in production, a 20-goal season is a very realistic possibility.
Acquired in a late-season trade from St. Louis, Stewart appeared in just five games with the Sabres and did not register any points. The big power forward is still trying to find his 28-goal form. In 63 games last year, Stewart scored just 15 goals whilte battling a series of ankle injuries. He’ll have plenty of chances to establish himself as a top-six winger in Buffalo, but he’ll have to play well consistently and stay healthy for that to happen. Stewart will often be tasked to create room for the team’s playmakers, and the better the job he does, the more points he may score.
Stewart used a grueling offseason training regimen to show up in the best shape of his life last year and it paid off as he led the team in goals and was a force in front of the net. That earned him a two-year contract extension and the Blues believe he can put up numbers similar to what he had in 2009-10 (28 goals 36 assists), which would make him a legitimate top power forward. The 6-2, 228 lb winger gets time on the first power-play unit and led St. Louis in that category as well. And he isn't afraid to mix it up, so he can help you rack up penalty minutes, too. We like him this year. You should, too.
Stewart has much to prove entering the 2012-13 season. After two consecutive 28-goal seasons, Stewart dropped off to 15 last year and was viewed by the organization as being out of shape. The Blues signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason, with the intent of having Stewart mature into a proper professional. That same strategy worked with T.J. Oshie, who wised up and now has a five-year deal in his pocket. Stewart signed on with a professional training and nutrition group in the offseason, so he seems to realize the crossroads at which his career currently sits. St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock continues to refer to Stewart as a top-six forward, though the coach often relegated him to third- and sometimes fourth-line duty last season. Hitchcock will likely start Stewart on the second line with Patrik Berglund and perhaps David Perron. There were predictions that Stewart would blossom into a 30-goal scorer prior to the 2011-12 season; nobody is making that prediction now.
Stewart looked good early on, picking up 25 points in the first 23 games before breaking his hand in November. He struggled to produce after a six-week hiatus and fell out of coach Joe Sacco’s good graces. So much so, that the Avalanche traded him away in early February to St. Louis, where he re-found his scoring touch. In his 26 games with the Blues, Stewart scored 15 goals (seven on power play) with eight assists and has positioned himself as a top scorer for the Blues heading into the 2011-12 season.
Stewart, just 22 years old, surprised everyone last year by exploding for 64 points, good for second on the team. He also led the Avs in the goal-scoring department with 28. What’s even more impressive is that Stewart’s hot streak really only began in December, when an injury to Milan Hejduk prompted coach Joe Sacco to give Stewart a look on the top line. Stewart never looked back after that, scoring 52 points over the next 54 games and adding three goals in Colorado’s first-round playoff loss to San Jose. Stewart, will return this season as part of a core group of young, up-and-coming players who will be asked to lead the Avs deeper into postseason territory. From a fantasy perspective, there is always the risk of a sophomore slump with a player like Stewart, but given his skill set and strong supporting cast, we see more upside than downside. He looks like the real deal to us.
Stewart is a strong, sturdy winger with a good mix of speed, skill and grit. He scored 11 goals for the Avs in 53 games last season, following a 25 goal-effort for AHL Lake Erie in 2007-08. He can also mix it up when needed, as 51 PIM last season suggest. Stewart may find himself in some interesting line combinations this season - he enters the season arguably as the Avs' fourth right wing on the depth chart, but depending on how Marek Svatos and David Jones fare, he could easily wind up getting promoted to the team's second line, possibly playing with Matt Duchene, Ryan Stoa or T.J. Hensick. Stewart qualifies as a good late-round sleeper in most medium to deep leagues.
Stewart is a big power forward who is a strong skater, hard to knock off the puck and not afraid to get physical when necessary (118 PIM this season). Stewart’s size, physicality, and soft hands, combined with excellent work ethic, make him a force to be reckoned with. One area of concern for him has been his conditioning. However, he is considered one of the Avs' top offensive prospets and could challenge for a roster spot as early as this year.
Stewart was looking to become this year's Paul Stastny, who surprisingly won a roster spot in 2006-07. After impressing team officials during the first days of traning camp, Stewart was reassigned to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.
Colorado's 2006 first round pick is a bruising winger whose skills are rated as very average. He racked up 118 penalty minutes in 2005-06 for Kingston of the OHL, but he might be overmatched in the professional ranks.
Like his older brother Anthony (Florida), Chris is a power forward in the making. His skills, though, are average so his ceiling may not be as high as his sibling. But, as the industry goes, scouts are split -- some see him as an agitating power guy with future weight issues while others think he'll be better than his brother. He'll make an impact on opposing defenders, though, who don't really like the idea of a freight train barrelling down on them. At least, he will be a productive, but not spectacular, NHL forward -- just keep in mind that type of player doesn't always project well in the fantasy arena.