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06-06-2012, 06:48 AM
  #34
PocketNines
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDream View Post
I should have seen this argument coming. Yeah I get that he doesn't play like Backes like we all want, but he still plays a fairly physical game, is a big body that can do to the front of the net, has great hands when he's hot, and is one of the best on the team at dropping the gloves. There would be a hole in our lineup if he left, as nobody else can really play that way. I get that he had a down year but the guy still could be a 25-30 goal scorer while still providing toughness and really nobody else on the roster has that combination. Giving up on Stewart, trading him for a draft pick and doing nothing to replace him would be dumb and luckily I don't see Armstrong doing that. But don't let me get in the way of another Stewart bashing.
Doing nothing to replace him? Huh? Tarasenko will easily get 15-15-30 or better even in a rookie year.

Like Backes? The guy isn't even as physical as little Vladdy Sobotka. Look, just like everyone else I had high hopes for Chris Stewart this year. Chris Stewart's a Blue, and I love the Blues, and Chris Stewart being good is a good thing if he's on the team I love. So there is no agenda to bash him. What happened was the season occurred and I watched it carefully. Simply noticed what was going on. When Chris Stewart barely engages in board battles and rarely wins the 50/50 pucks, you cannot call him a power forward. Period.

There are serious practical issues here. First is too many wingers under contract. Second is what does the contract landscape look like going forward. Let's say Stewart signs his QO for 1yr, 3.25M. We don't have to face him taking the team to arbitration which he is eligible to do this summer. Let's just say we catch a break and he signs it. Automatically – immediately – it sets up the exact same scenario next summer. It'll cost 3.25M to qualify him for one year, after which he is a UFA and walks for nothing. Now either he sucked horribly again in which case the Blues completely failed by keeping him since now he can't get you anywhere near a first round value OR he had a big year. Good for the Blues but now what $$ do you have to commit to him to keep him? Now you have even LESS $$ for upgrading the center position. Now you have even less $$ for new deals for Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Berglund, McDonald (if applicable), Russell and Cole.

We could really do without the fictions about his physical play. What, is the suggestion that Blues fans hate/cannot recognize physical play? That is, Chris Stewart's this physical guy and we just can't appreciate it? Laughable. The team was highly physical this year – it was one of the pleasures of the season, watching a team compete so strongly for the puck, knocking bodies around, storming to the front of the net and winning competitive fights for possession. You'd have to be crazy to think if Chris Stewart had done any of that also that we'd have randomly ignored it. Here is a guy whose first impression last season was very strong. He was already on our good side. We wanted him to be good. If he'd been hitting but the pucks weren't going in, you'd have found this season's message boards riddled with commentary about how he was really trying and it was just a matter of time. You can't find that because it never happened. HE IS NOT A PHYSICAL POWER FORWARD. Man, wouldn't it be great if he were? Boy, wouldn't that just be awesome? I think so. But it isn't, because he isn't. Consider for one moment what if what I'm saying is accurate, that he isn't the power forward you say he is. If he actually isn't very physical, doesn't win battles (having the occasional fight – that has nothing to do with being a power forward), then what are you left with in your everything's fine, nothing to see here take on the guy? Here is a guy coming off two consecutive years of 28 goals who Hitchcock played less than Vladimir Sobotka. Sobotka's only aspect is physical play/competitiveness. Hitchcock sure as hell isn't giving Sobotka all those minutes because he's expected to score. If Stewart were a power forward who wasn't scoring but was stlll using his physical play, there is simply NO WAY in hell Hitchcock is giving the smaller guy who has far less chance of producing on the scoresheet more ice time than the bigger guy who's just as physical and who has a vastly higher offensive expectation. It's absurd.

Can Stewart be this great player going forward? Will he suddenly develop the hockey sense to know how to play in this system? I have serious doubts. But you know what? It's sports. Surprising things sometimes happen and if this one did it's good news for the Blues and I'd cheer for it. That still doesn't answer what happens if he does have a big year being only one more year from UFA and who else that affects on the roster. Above all else, you have to look at it from an asset management perspective. If he's still in single digit goals on New Year's Day he will be perceived as a total bust. You'd be talking about a one-dimensional player who's on pace for fewer than 20 goals in his one good dimension. Only now your only option is a scraps return. This is a scenario greater than 50% likelihood if they keep him.

Physical Play
Board & Corner play - Battles for loose pucks, willing to pay the price. (Nope)
Physical presence - Size and strength are used as an asset; tough to play against;
punishes opponents every chance. (Nope)
Conditioning - Overall physical conditioning, build, strength, stamina and durability,
seldom misses games. (Team cited his conditioning as an issue)
Hitting - Takes the body, effectively separates opposition from the puck, willing to take
a hit to make a play. (Nope)
Fighting - Willing to fight and is capable. (Yep)
Overall – Nope.


Last edited by PocketNines: 06-06-2012 at 08:11 AM.
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