The Ducks lost some of their grit and secondary scoring when Matt Beleskey signed with Boston. On Saturday evening, they picked up Chris Stewart as a quasi-replacement. The forward signed a one-year, $1.7-million deal with Anaheim.
Stewart, 27, has the potential to fill the skates of Beleskey. Potential is the key word; yet, it’s an inexpensive gamble for the Ducks to take.
Early in his career, he’s reached the 50-plus point plateau twice. As the years went by, Stewart’s penalty minute total went up and his scoring went down. (Beleskey performed at the opposite pace.) Last season, Stewart was dealt from Buffalo to Minnesota. He posted 11 points in 20 games with the Wild, but went nearly silent in the off-season.
The Ducks already have Tim Jackman to drop the gloves, and Brian McGrattan as a backup. The focus for Stewart will be less on fighting and more on scoring. As long as he can keep his composure and contribute, he’ll get quality minutes on the third or fourth line. If one of the Ducks youngsters take his place, they’ll ship him out. No big deal.
Bob Murray has been active in tweaking the forward group. After Beleskey walked, he sent Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri to the Eastern Conference. In return for Etem, he received the RFA rights to Carl Hagelin. Hagelin and fellow Swede and RFA, Jakob Silfverberg, have yet to be signed. The Ducks have the cap space, so it’s likely a matter of term over cash.