Kings' owner gave the GM the green light to make the moves to defend the Cup. This certainly explains them targeting Stewart.
Yeah, the picks seem to be sticking in everyone's craw, but Stewart made more money and did not seem to be a Muller type of player and Westgarth is signed for another season. The Canes have been lacking a sandpaper player for a long, long time. JR knows that the future is now and is trying to make something happen sooner rather than later in order to win back some fans.
I have a strong feeling Westy will do better in the east than he did in the west. He will have more takers to dance with and will get more pt than Sutter will have ever given him, and honestly he's just one of those enforcers who needs more pt to play well. He was really good in the 11 playoffs and has ok abilities for an enforcer he was just never going to play here with Clifford and Nolan. He'll bust his ass off when he does get pt and is great in the room but don't expect much during his fights. Was great in the AHL but struggles against NHL heavies.
As far as skill, not so much. He certainly is entertaining to watch from a goon perspective fighting young and/or smaller guys, as I remember in a pre-season game him breaking someone's jaw, but against other veteran goons he had a tougher time.
The fight where he broke someone's jaw, that was a pre-season game and that someone was David Koci. Not small, and a veteran. Just sayin'
Keep in mind that Westgarth has huge value to us because he has ties to the area. We value wanting to be here over having the skill to be here, every time (see Corvo, Joe). We have an obligation to keep these guys employed.
Plus, he'll probably take a hometown discount in his next contract. We can keep this guy around for a long time at very little money. I'm being a bit snarky, but think Craig Adams. Not in terms of style of play, but how long we kept him around in a fourth-line role without ever having to pay him. Like Craig, he's got a role. Stewart never did.
Not sure why we added two picks instead of one, but this one actually makes sense. Canes save almost 200K in cap and a quarter million real dollars to ditch a useless player for someone that actually fills a roster need.
Interestingly Westgarth is Bill Cowher's stepson (cue up the Cowher to coach Carolina Panthers rumors yet again )
Westy is Cowhers son in law, not his step son. Westy and Cowhers daughter both went to Princeton.
Stewart served no purpose on this roster. He was wasted space and wasted money. We are better off giving up a couple low round picks to convince someone to take him off our hands. We need some players like Westgarth who have clearly defined low line roles that we can count on to perform adequately. Hopefully, he can handle that.
Now the season has officially started, as we are complaining about the inclusion of fourth and sixth-round draft picks. Stewart didn't have a spot here and Westgarth seems to have the toughness this team has lacked. Don't have a problem with this deal at all.
Fills a need and sheds a player with no worth to Muller. The picks are always thrown in by JR because he always targets a specific guy to fill his hole and pay to get the target. JR didnt walk into his office with a list of 20 fourth liners as options, thats just not how he works. He and Muller targeted Westgarth specifically IMO. Smart, well spoken, tough guy who is a decent skater and wont put up with the nonsense that has been occuring with Skinner and Cam. We cant keep depending on top 4 Dmen to fill that role since it often cost us a PKer. In a general market setting we overpaid, but within our context we got the guy we wanted and didnt mortgage anything of consequence.
Because at the time he looked to be on track to develop into a fast, big-bodied power forward who could chip in 20 goals and play a Paul Maurice style of forechecking game, filling a role that is still an issue for our roster. At $900k for 2 years he was judged to be a reasonable gamble.
I don't remember anyone having a major problem with it at the time.