Fantasy Grapevine - Week 19
February, 5, 2014
By Victoria Matiash | ESPN.com
AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris LeeA change of scenery could get Chris Stewart back in the scoring groove.Almost lost amid all the Ryan Callahan-related trade chatter is the potential inclusion of Chris Stewart in a prospective deal between the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.
TSN’s Darren Dreger suggests the Rangers, in hopes of maximizing the return for their current captain, could send Callahan to the Blues for a package including Stewart before Friday’s Olympic roster freeze. Hey, that’s less than 48 hours away.
Here’s the prospective scoop, from a fantasy perspective: While Callahan (Tuesday’s three-point output serving as stark exception this season) might benefit from a change of atmosphere, Stewart would undoubtedly reap an advantage from playing elsewhere. Enduring a mediocre campaign, Stewart no longer fits in well with the Blues’ corps of forwards. Even playing on a top line with Alexander Steen and David Backes hasn’t inspired much from the 26-year-old power forward. And he is averaging less than 14 minutes of ice time these days. That's unexpected, considering last season's tally of 18 goals and 18 assists in 48 games.
Even if he isn’t shipped to The Big Apple this week, Stewart is considered a leading candidate to be sent elsewhere before the league’s March 5 trade deadline, which means a strong finish to the season could be in store for the physically imposing winger. Owned in only 42 percent of ESPN.com leagues, the former first-round draft pick (2006) could serve as a fantasy gem through the final stretch.