Atlanta Thrashers: Who Is Anthony Stewart ?

Peter BojarinovAnalyst IOctober 17, 2010

Anthony Stewart after scoring one of his hat-trick goals against the Anaheim Ducks on Fri, Oct 15th.
Anthony Stewart after scoring one of his hat-trick goals against the Anaheim Ducks on Fri, Oct 15th.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After five games this season the Atlanta Thrashers are an above .500 team, something that the organization and fans of the team were thinking they would be. Fighting for a playoff spot, even without their franchise leader in all offensive categories gone.

Critics and other fans around the NHL expect the Thrashers to finish even lower then last seasons 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Though the team had played much better after Kovalchuk trade, they played more of a team. The team came together, which raised everyone else’s game.

After all the moves during the Kovalchuk trade, and the Chicago Blackhawk sweepstakes, people were expecting a new hard working team, which they have shown most of their first five games. What they didn’t expect was their least noticed acquisition during the previous off-season to become their team leader in goals, Anthony Stewart.

On July 13, 2009, Anthony Stewart left the Panthers organization as a free agent and signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Thrashers, then resigned again this off-season for almost the league minimum at roughly .6 million.

Stewart, drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 1st round, 23rd overall in 2003, had plenty of chances to find a place on the team, though they had many others his age also fighting for a spot on the team, he dropped off their roster and into the AHL.

The past 5 years up and down from the AHL and NHL, he’s become a complete player; a versatile all around power forward. The older brother of Chris Stewart of the Colorado Avalanche, Anthony might not have hit the NHL running like his younger brother, but he 's here to stay.

In 5 games now with the Thrashers, he’s shown that he can be more of just a regular 3rd liner. He’s shown he has a brilliant hard slapshot, a nose for the next, strong forechecking, and a guy who intimidates the opposition with hard-hitting checks.

The Thrashers are team to reckon with, and will strongly contend for a playoff spot, with the team they have now, and with the help of its underrated players.

Thrashers might still be considered a team who has plenty of playoff experience, and great speed from its youth, but it also has a power forward in the name of Anthony Stewart.