Monday, July 22, 2013
Stewart poised to cash in down the line?
By Luke Lapinski
UPDATE: As we noted earlier, Chris Stewart's new two-year deal makes him one of the highest paid players on St. Louis. And, as Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests, it could be a precursor to an even bigger deal in the future.
Simply put, there isn't an overabundance of high end power forwards floating around on the open market. But Stewart will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 campaign, and he could fit the bill nicely if he continues on his recent trajectory. Gordon points to the lucrative deals recently signed by David Clarkson, Ryane Clowe and Nathan Horton as evidence for why the Blues' big man could be cashing in down the line. Those players are all regarded as valuable power forwards, and Stewart has the potential to be right there with them -- if not better.
---With news today that St. Louis and Chris Stewart have agreed to a new two-year deal worth $8.3 million, the Blues have nearly all of their roster questions answered for the 2013-14 season. The only main player without a contract at the moment (other than Jake Allen) is restricted free agent Alex Pietrangelo. And while the highly regarded defenseman figures to command a sizable salary, the organization still has enough room against the cap to make it work.
In Stewart, St. Louis locks up its top goal (18) and point (36) producer from last season. The Blues aren't overly reliant on any one player for their offensive output, instead employing a balanced attack that has worked pretty well for them under Ken Hitchcock. Keeping a guy like Stewart around gives them a power forward who can crash the net and throw his weight around to fight for goals in close when necessary. Through 319 career games at the NHL level, he has 202 points -- including a 64-point outburst in the 2009-10 campaign.