Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why not Anthony Stewart?

Thirty NHL General Managers know better than we do. This is a statement of fact that realistically cannot be disputed. They have the resources, staffing, experience and knowledge to make the correct decision. That said, Anthony Stewart  not being claimed on waivers is difficult to understand.

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.