Carolina Newcomers: A Closer Look at Anthony Stewart

Carolina Hurricanes winger Anthony Stewart at an informal skate on August 23, 2011. (photo by Jamie Kellnerat RCI)

Anthony Stewart is another player who followed an unlikely path to Raleigh.  The winger was a restricted free agent with the Winnipeg Jets this offseason, but was never tendered a qualifying offer by his former club.  Come July 1, that made him an unrestricted free agent. 

Once the Carolina Hurricanes found out that Erik Cole would not return, they went looking for a replacement and ended up signing Stewart to a two year deal.  It won't be easy, but the youngster will be given the opportunity to at least be one of the spare parts to help fill the gap left by Cole's departure. 

The Quebec native was originally drafted in the first round by Florida in 2003, but the Panthers did not qualify him after the 2009 season and the Thrashers acquired him at that time much like the Canes did, as an unqualified free agent.

The winger has a big body which he uses to his advantage, but he has been mostly inconsistent up to this point in his career.  We asked Laura Astorian, (Hildymac) a former Atlanta blogger for her take.  See what she had to say after the jump.


Anthony Stewart

#13 / Center / Carolina Hurricanes

6-3

230

Jan 05, 1985




GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2010 - Anthony Stewart 80 14 25
39 -10 55 5
0 2 141 9.9


From Laura Astorian:

I was impressed with Stewart initially - the way that he played at the start of the season had me wondering if the wrong Stewart brother wasn't listed on the roster. I'm not really sure what the deal was as the season progressed. He seemed to follow the team down their downhill path. I'm not going to place blame for that on him; obviously it was more or less a team-wide issue. He never really tried to step it up big time as the problems got worse. Nonetheless, he used Craig Ramsay's system to get himself a career year.

Strengths - he's a nice guy and he obviously wants to do what he can to help his team. I would consider his weakness not being able to motivate those around him to necessarily step up their play. There were several games when he was on the ice that i.e. was invisible. He's not stellar on either the penalty kill or power play, but is a solid third-liner. Perhaps he was relied on too much here.

I'm not really sure why the Jets didn't qualify him. I was more than flabbergasted, especially when you consider their off-season moves. It might've been they looked at his second-half performance and went "meh," then decided to cut their losses. They didn't improve over him much so far, so I'm not sure what their strategy was.

I do like the story of how he encouraged Chris to go for hockey over football - as a Blues fan I guess I owe him a gift basket! (http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=540632). Also, this article from Top Shelf is a good one: http://www.topshelfmanzine.ca/?tag=chris-stewart
(Laura)




The article by Top Shelf linked above really delves into Stewart's background and lets you know where he's coming from.  His parents at times did not have enough funds available for their son to play hockey and with the money from his first contract, he bought his family a home.


As Laura mentions above, Stewart started off last season red hot and the Thrashers looked like they were playoff bound until they hit the skids in the second half of the season. 

Before last season, the winger had minimal NHL success, ( two goals in 59 games with Florida in 2008-09) and just mild AHL success.  When the Thrashers first acquired him, they assigned him to Chicago where he scored 12 goals and 19 assists in 77 games.  But he did step up and light the lamp nine times in 13 playoff games for the Wolves. 

Here is the Fantasy Sports Services scouting report for Stewart:

Scouting Report

Assets
  • Owns a huge frame, which he can use effectively in the corners. Finishes his checks and is tough. Has untapped power forward potential.
Flaws
  • Must prove he can score goals against the highest competition. Needs to keep his weight in check, since he loses speed if he's too bulky. Also must improve his game-to-game consistency.

 


Anthony Stewart is a player who still has a ton of unrealized potential, but can he put together a complete, consistent season for the Hurricanes?  He will be another interesting story to follow this training camp and throughout the season. 

(You can follow Stewart on Twitter at @Astew22)

(A big thanks to Laura for taking the time to provide her feedback.  She writes now for St. Louis Game Time)

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