The Buffalo Sabres are going nowhere fast this season, except fighting for the right to draft Connor McDavid which is actually something to get excited over. In the meantime, Sabres’ GM Tim Murray needs to think about the future and has already set his team up for the future by acquiring Evander Kane. Now, Murray must finally accomplish something he has been trying to do since the fall, trade Chris Stewart.
There was a time that Stewart was considered to be one of the better up-and-coming young players in the NHL. He broke out in the 09-10 season with 28 goals with the Colorado Avalanche and followed that up with another 28-goal campaign split between the Avalanche and St. Louis Blues. He had a couple of nice seasons with the Blues, scoring 63 goals and tallying 52 assists in 211 games for them. However, with the Sabres Stewart has been a complete bust. Still, he remains their best trade chip.
In the 59 games Stewart has played with the Sabres this season he has managed to tally a -31 +/- while putting only 10 goals in the net and assisting on 13 others. He has looked lost and completely unworthy of his $4.5 million contract.
Still, Stewart could offer something to a contender. At 6’2” and 230 pounds, he has very good size and is not afraid to get physical. He thrives in a power game where he is not the focal point and can park in front of the net and hammer in rebounds. He is still just 27-years-old and has plenty to offer a contender with the cap space to take him on.
Murray would love to be able to get a second rounder and a prospect for Stewart and right now it is a seller’s market. The Boston Bruins would be a good fit for Stewart and teaming him with Milan Lucic could be just what Stewart needs to revive his game before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Sabres need to continue revamping their roster for the future and trading Stewart will add to Murray’s cabinet for next season and could help move the Sabres one step closer to respectability starting as early as next season.