May 30, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT
Stewart said he sees a lot of pieces on the way that could push the Sabres to become a very good team rather quickly.
A lot can change over the course of the summer and he’s also aware of the possibility that he could be on the move again.
“I don’t think it’s going to take that long to turn it around here. Obviously you’re subject to all those trade rumors and all the stuff like that, but that’s out of my control,” Stewart said. “Like I’ve said before, as long as I’m a Buffalo Sabre, I’m just going to worry about helping this team win hockey games and that’s all that’s on my mind.”
Just 26, Stewart could be retained as part of Buffalo’s rebuilding process. He’s a two-time 28-goal scorer that was on pace to score 30 during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign (he finished with 18 in 48 games), and was scoring at a decent clip last season as well — 15 goals in 58 games with the Blues — before the trade to Buffalo, followed by a season-ending injury just five games into his Sabres tenure.
That said, Stewart could net Buffalo some good returns this summer.
There’s a general sense around the NHL that the offseason trade market will be busy, thanks in large part to a lack of quality free agents and the fact seven new GMs are heading into their first draft/free agency period. One of those GMs is Buffalo’s Tim Murray, who has wheeled and dealt plenty already (the Miller trade, the Matt Moulson trade.)
Stewart could be a movable asset, given there’s only one year left on his deal (at $4.1 million) and the fact teams could be keen to add a goalscoring winger with size.
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