Chris Stewart thinks he's 'good fit' for Anaheim Ducks Cup contender

Chris Stewart thinks he's 'good fit' for Anaheim Ducks Cup contender

BY CHRIS LOMON

TORONTO - It wasn’t his birthday or a day that held special personal meaning on the calendar, but Chris Stewart was certainly in a celebratory mood on July 12 – and for good reason.

The 27-year-old right-winger quickly pointed out that it was the date he signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Ducks.

“I’d have to say that was a pretty good moment, a big highlight of the off-season,” said Stewart, who inked a one-year, $1.7 million contract with last year’s top seed in the Western Conference. “It’s a really good opportunity for me.”

The native of Scarborough, Ont., didn’t add, ‘and I intend to make the most out of it,’ but it was certainly inferred.

Last season, Stewart scored 14 goals and recorded 36 points in 81 games between the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild. He was dealt to Minnesota on March 2 for a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

After netting three goals and 11 points in 20 games with the Wild, Stewart registered two assists in eight Stanley Cup Playoff games before an upper-body injury in Game 2 of the Western Conferenced semifinals sent him to the sidelines.

The imposing Stewart – he stands 6-2 and tips the scales at 230 pounds – provides a big-body forward need for the Ducks, who traded Kyle Palmieri to New Jersey and Emerson Etem to the New York Rangers, and saw free agent Matt Beleskey signed a five-year contract with the Boston Bruins.

“It was certainly one of those days you’re going to remember for a long time, getting that chance to come to a team that can win a Stanley Cup,” said Stewart. “It’s a great fit for me.”

Stewart spoke after a spirited on-ice workout with a group of fellow NHL players at the 2015 BioSteel Pro Hockey Camp held at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Stewart took a moment to catch his breath. 

Judging by his up-tempo on-ice efforts on Tuesday, it’s evident Stewart is champing at the bit to get the 2015-16 NHL season underway.

His first regular season game in Anaheim colours comes on October 10 against the San Jose Sharks.

If he happens to light the lamp that night, Stewart can add another memorable day to his 2015 calendar.

“That would be just fine with me,” he said. “In fact, I’d like that quite a bit.”

An award-nominated writer, Chris Lomon contributes feature stories to a number of magazines and websites, including Yahoo! Sports (Canada) and NHLPA.com. He has written numerous articles for horse racing publications over the years and has been nominated for a Sovereign Award (feature writing category) on three occasions. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisLomon.