The St. Louis Blues haven’t been happy with Chris Stewart’s production this season. He has 15 goals to his name, but has been wildly inconsistent in scoring them. As a result, coach Ken Hitchcock has been not-so-subtly demoting him. He was dropped to the fourth line Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils, and he only played 5:32 last Sunday against the New York Islanders. Stewart is very aware the decrease in ice time is a direct message, but if the rumors are true, he may not have to worry about the messages from Hitchcock much longer.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the New York Rangers have been “gathering intel” on Stewart, leading many to believe the team is gearing up for a trade. As far as who the Blues would get in return, the hot name appears to be team captain Ryan Callahan.
In the early stages of this season, the idea of New York trading Callahan seemed pretty far-fetched. One of the team’s best players, Callahan is someone few thought the Rangers would be willing to lose.
And then Callahan, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, made public his asking price for a new contract. The captain is apparently seeking a seven-year, $42 million deal, a mammoth contract the Rangers quite obviously found too high. Knowing how cap-strung a deal like that would make the team, New York is apparently now looking to see if they can deal Callahan.
A Stewart-for-Callahan deal could be beneficial for both teams involved. The Rangers would get a player who, though having an inconsistent career, has the ability to be very productive. He notched 36 points in 48 games last season, and even had a 64 point campaign with the Colorado Avalanche back in 2009. Likewise, the Blues get, at the very least, a rental of Callahan. He’s a solid player all around, and has proven to be a great leader in the locker room. This would be huge for a Blues team that, while performing well in the regular season, has struggled to escape the first round of the playoffs.
It’s all hear-say at this point, but we know two things right off the bat. One, Stewart is watching his minutes significantly decrease. Two, the Rangers aren’t psyched with Callahan’s contract demands.
At first glance, it sounds like a trade match made in heaven.