Chris Stewart Signed by Minnesota Wild

by Michael Clifford on July 1, 2016

Chris Stewart returns to the Minnesota Wild on a two-year deal. 

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In a return of sorts, the Minnesota Wild brought winger Chris Stewart on a two-year deal. He played briefly with the Wild in the 2014-2015 season, and looks to solidify their top-nine forwards: 

The NHL is full of interesting stories, and one that always stays with me is Stewart’s, at least fantasy-wise. From 2009-2011, Stewart averaged 28 goals and 58 points a season, in just 139 games. At that point, he was 23 years old, and appeared to be among the game’s next premier power forwards.

Since the 2010-2011 season, though, Stewart has not surpassed 36 points (though he did have 36 in the shortened lockout season), and has not cracked the 20-goal mark. The once tantalizing young power forward has since been bounced around the league.

Stewart kind of seemed to find his groove last year though, with just eight goals and 20 points in Anaheim. He was playing a minimal role, though, and his points per 60 minutes rate was actually 1.55. That’s a good number for the role he was expected to play. For context, that mark of 1.55 points per 60 minutes was 150th out of 352 forwards that played at least 500 minutes last year, or the upper-half. Again, not bad.

So now it’s all about the role that he has to play with Minnesota. There really isn’t a glut of wingers, especially with Thomas Vanek bought out. If Charlie Coyle plays the wing, there is Parise, Coyle, Zucker, Niederreiter, and Pominville seemingly in the top-six. That would appear to give Stewart at least a reasonable chance to crack the top-nine, giving him some fantasy relevance.

With Stewart, fantasy relevance will depend on his role. If he plays on the third line with second power play units? He can be a depth play in roto leagues, given his propensity for penalty minutes. If he falters and can’t get past the fourth line, there isn’t much relevance here.

Who does this affect positively, in order:

  1. Jakub Silfverberg
  2. Nick Ritchie

This helps the wingers in Anaheim. Not that Stewart was a huge roadblock, but now that Stewart is in Minnesota, it seems like the top line will likely have Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry. That means the second line is wide open, and given Anaheim’s cap situation, they’re probably going to have to give some more meaningful minutes to their younger players.

Who does this affect negatively, in order:

  1. Jordan Schroeder

Assuming that Stewart can stay in a top-nine role, with the five wingers already mentioned, the first three lines for Minnesota are locked up. That would push Schroeder for good to the fourth line, and remove any fantasy relevance dynasty owners may have been clinging to.

*Stats from Hockey Reference and Hockey Analysis. Cap information from Cap Friendly