Whether he was living in #coolsville or feeling #meh, one thing we know for sure is that he would never #passittobulis.
There's no doubt that Anthony Stewart brought personality to the team. The post game "hugs" with Cam Ward no doubt lead to a number of conversations. He's a charismatic guy and the owner of a twitter account that you should follow right after you follow Paul Bissonnette. The question with Stewart is if he brings enough hockey production to go along with all of that personality.
Stewart was signed in the off-season by Jim Rutherford in an effort to bring in some size and some scoring to the bottom six. He was coming off a season that saw him, like many of the Thrashers, start hot only to fade down the stretch. When the team moved to Winnipeg the new ownership decided that Stewart wasn't part of their long term plans and he was not tendered an offer even though he was still a restricted free agent.
Coming up after the jump we'll take a look at Stewart's stats and review his season in more depth.
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Anthony Stewart played in 77 games for the Carolina Hurricanes. While he managed only 20 points on the season he did so while averaging just 8:07 of time on ice per game (TOI/G) playing mostly a fourth line role. His nine goals was the second best number of his career, behind only the 14 he scored in the previous season in Atlanta while averaging just under 15 minutes of total TOI/G and playing a mostly top nine role.
Stewart was able to utilize his size well during his limited time on ice, registering 92 hits which was good for 8th best on the team. For reference, Stewart managed 9 more hits than Jiri Tlusty and 28 more than Tim Brent who centered him most of the year.
While it is unlikely that Stewart will ever be known as a defensive stalwart he was able to finish with a +/- of -2, which is not terrible when you consider Tim Brent finished with a -8 and the team was outscored 5 on 5 by 38 goals last season.
One can't talk about Anthony Stewart without discussing his problems with consistency. On certain nights Stewart would be a spark plug, helping to change the momentum of a game in favor of the Hurricanes with high energy shifts on the fourth line. On other nights he would be seemingly absent, unable to get noticed, at least not for positive play. It was perhaps his inconsistency that led to the Canes placing him on waivers in February. Not being claimed seemed to motivate Stewart for a while, but even that wore off by the end of the season.
Stewart also has a relatively thin skill set. He averaged less than 21 seconds per game on the season for power play time. Perhaps worse, he totaled only 38 seconds all season of short handed time on ice. It's very difficult to make a name for yourself on a team when other guys are equally good, if not better, at being a spark plug and also play on the special teams.
Anthony Stewart was on the first year of the two year free agent contract he signed with the Hurricanes after not being tendered an offer from the Jets/Thrashers franchise. His salary last year was $800,000 while his cap hit was slightly higher at $900,000. This is by no means an exorbitant sum of money for a hockey player. A first round pick could have a base salary of $850,000 and bonuses that would take him higher than Stewart's salary. That said, one does wonder how much of an upgrade could be had for a few hundred thousand dollars.
The Final Word
Anthony Stewart still has a ways to go in his development if he's going to be considered an every day top 9 player. Given that he is 27 one has to wonder if he will be able to take that final step forward or if this is as complete of a player as he will ever be. Perhaps his long term role in the NHL is more of a fourth line player, but it's hard to imagine him sticking in that role long term without developing the ability to play on special teams somewhere.
What grade would you give Stewart’s season with the Hurricanes this year? If you never saw him #passittobulis, give him an A. If he was simply #meh give him a C. If you think we should sound the cannons and kick him of the #nhlhungergames give him an F. Explain your vote and explain your thoughts on Stewart and his performance this season. What do you think his ceiling is? Were you happy that he was extended? What role do you want him to play next year?