In a league where depth at the forward position should be about maximizing the number of potential 10-goal scorers on your roster (here's a link to an article on this very topic), the thought of not picking up a player has already had a 14-goal season and only makes $900,000 is baffling.
Anthony Stewart is a 6'3", 230 lbs natural right-winger. Word out of Carolina is that they placed him on waivers because head coach Kirk Muller wanted to get a look at some younger forwards.
Stewart has averaged just under 8 minutes of ice-time per-game, and has produced 6 goals and 13 points. He has a plus-4 traditional plus/minus on a team with a goal differential of minus-28. He averages just 23 seconds of powerplay ice-time per-game; ranking him 18th in PP ice-time among his teammates.
The argument that he is just another fourth-liner just doesn't fit.
Stewart averages a goal every 66 minutes of ice-time. Outside of Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Desharnais, only Rene Bourque (54 MP/G) and Kostitsyn (56 MP/G) have a better average. Stewart looks even better when we compare him to the Habs current bottom-7 forwards.
- Moen 82 MP/G
- Darche 192 MP/G
- Nokelainen 187 MP/G
- Eller 76 MP/G
- Blunden 115 MP/G
- Gomez (no goals)
- Palushaj (no goals)
Stewart averages a point every 30 minutes of ice-time. Outside of the Habs top-4 mentioned above, only Andrei Kostitsyn (29 MP/POINT) has a better average. Stewart looks even better when we compare him to the Habs current bottom-8 forwards.
- Bourque 41 MP/POINT
- Moen 46 MP/P
- Darche 74 MP/P
- Nokelainen 94 MP/P
- Gomez 50 MP/P
- Eller 38 MP/P
- Blunden 77 MP/P
- Palushaj 290 MP/P
He has a shooting percentage of 15% this season, and has a career average of 8.5%. The only Montreal Canadiens forwards with better shooting percentages this season are David Desharnais, Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen. He also averages a shot every 10 minutes of ice-time. Outside of the Habs top-4, only Eller, Bourque, Kostitsyn, Darche and Gomez produce more shots per-minute of ice-time than Stewart.
The Montreal Canadiens only have 7 forwards signed for next season with the likely potential, or history of scoring 10 goals in a season. Anthony Stewart will not get a team into the playoffs. He is not a difference-maker. That said, a 6'3', 230 lbs potential 10-goal scorer making $900,000 is an enormous asset on any team. Especially an undersized team, that is close to the salary cap; and struggling offensively.