When the St. Louis Blues dealt Erik Johnson and Jay McClement to the Colorado Avalanche in February of 2011 for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk, Stewart was supposed to be a major goal scorer who could spark the Blues offense.
But, while Shattenkirk has been outstanding throughout his tenure as a Blue, Stewart has struggled to say the least.
Stewart exploded for the Blues to end the teams 2010-2011campaign, putting up 23 points in the final 26 games of the season. The young winger, now 24-years-old, appeared to be full of potential for St. Louis, and was considered to be a key piece for the Blues' future.
This year though was certainly not the star studded year that the Blues organization and their fans expected from Stewart. Stewart only had 15 goals and 15 assists this year for the Blues, and was a healthy scratch on more than one occasion this season.
When asked about scratching Stewart Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock simply said "We need more from him".
The Blues apparently still think that Stewart can be an elite goal scorer for them, because the club announced Thursday that they had inked Stewart to a one year contract extension worth $3 million.
The Blues biggest weakness this season was their inability to produce enough offense, and with Stewart being only 24 years of age, he still has time to mature and show that he can be a big time goal scorer in the NHL.
In my opinion, this was an outstanding move by the Blues. You have a young player in Chris Stewart with a ton of upside. He has had time now to adjust to coach Hitchcock for an entire season, and maybe now we will see more consistent and productive play out of him throughout an entire season.
By signing Stewart to a one year deal, the Blues do not tie themselves up financially either. If things do not work out with Stewart this year, then the club can go another direction after the season is over. If things do work out, then both sides can pursue a long term deal after the end of the 2013 season.
Overall, this move should be great for both sides; and hopefully we can see the flashes of brilliance that Stewart showed in this year's playoffs on a daily basis during the 2012-2013 season.