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Sabres’ Stewart to enter season with a chip on his shoulder

Aug 16, 2014, 10:00 PM EST

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One could argue that power forwards are streaky by nature, yet Buffalo Sabres forward Chris Stewart still ranks as a stark example of “feast or famine.” The 26-year-old seems just as likely to suffer a penalty-minute-fueled meltdown as he is to score a tide-turning goal.

The storyline almost seems tired by now: the big winger hopes to silence his critics and find the consistency that’s escaped his grasp for basically his entire career. Even Stewart acknowledges those questions in an interesting interview with NHL.com.

“I definitely have a chip on my shoulder,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t happy with my year last year, either. I feel like I have a lot to prove and it’s just going out and doing it. I’m going to come in and I’m going to be consistent. I think that’s been a knock on me. I’ve been able to put together good stretches and then go cold, but I think we have a coach like Ted Nolan who believes in you. I think it’s going to be hard not to have the best season of my career so far.”

Nolan backed him up on that point, telling NHL.com that he’s a “Chris Stewart-type of hockey coach.”

Golden opportunity

Stewart has plenty of motivation to put forth his best effort with a contract that expires after the 2014-15 season and the Sabres’ experience-starved roster likely encourages Nolan to give the winger every chance to prove himself. While it’s unclear if Stewart will get the chance to build on chemistry he believes he began kindling with Cody Hodgson in his five-game cameo with Buffalo last season, it’s difficult to imagine Stewart outside of the Sabres’ top six very often.

(Then again, he found himself in such a position more than once with Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis.)

At this point, it’s difficult to emphatically state that we’ll know what kind of player Stewart really is after the 2014-15 season since he’s been such an unpredictable performer through 382 regular season games and 19 postseason contests. Still, he can stand to make himself a lot of money – in Buffalo or perhaps elsewhere – if he flirts with 30 goals once again.

If his career path is any indication, it wouldn’t be wise to bet for or against that happening.

  1. djshnooks - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Many expect him to be traded, but he might fit the mold of what they wanna do.

    Drew Stafford could also be traded, as he has nothing to do with this regime now.

    That said, I think they both could be replaced within 2 years with all the power-forward prospects coming through like Hudson Fasching, William Carrier, Nick Deslauriers, Justin Bailey, etc.

    With both their contracts up at the end of this year, all the quality prospects coming up, and lots of cap space next July…both Stewart and Stafford probably get traded.

    • bluesdroogie - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      Blues gave up too much for a rental in Miller.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        Yeah, but Stewart wasn’t part of that “too much”…..and neither was Halak. Stewart is the same guy now as he was when the Blues acquired him. Inconsistent effort, disappears for long stretches of games, then has a few weeks where he’s everywhere, making hits, setting up other guys, finding the back of the net…then a month where he’s on vacation. Halak was gone after last year anyway. The only thing they gave up worth much is the 2015 pick.

  2. bluesdroogie - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    Stewart can be really good if he actually plays consistent and back checks. he is a big body but unfortunately most of the time he is just a big body. when he has a hunger in him he seems to play really well and can put up goals and hit hard, yet he is guilty of drifting way too much. hope the best for him and buffalo as for some reason I have liked them until around 2000. I liked Lafontaine as a player and having one of the best goalies to ever play in Hasek never hurt.

    Hopefully the Sabres can turn things around and become a threat again. Decent signings this year.

    • anthj99 - Aug 17, 2014 at 5:05 AM

      One of? You mean BEST goalie ever in Hasek?

      • bluesdroogie - Aug 17, 2014 at 7:19 AM

        you are forgetting hall and plante, goalies that paved the way for goalies like hasek, broduer, roy, Belfour, joseph, hextall, and so many more

      • anthj99 - Aug 17, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        You’re so right. Thanks to those above average goalies for paving the way for the best ever.

      • avscup - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        Nah! One of the best.

  3. 19to77 - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    Entering the season with a chip on his shoulder has become tradition for Stewart as much as ending the season on a different team.

  4. djshnooks - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    They’ve been very good much more recently than 2000…and they had some very good quality players as well.

    Not just the best goalie ever.

    They were the epitome of a team.

  5. zinger99 - Aug 17, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Hasek the best ever? Hahaha!!! That guy quit on his own team! Also,the streets of Buffalo are a safer place without him driving on them.

  6. zinger99 - Aug 17, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Hasek was soooooo overrated….

  7. bluesdroogie - Aug 17, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Hasek will go down in history as arguably 1 of the top 3 to ever play the game. Hasek, Roy, Brodeur. If you disagree then you are just wrong

  8. zinger99 - Aug 17, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Blew his chance at that by not winning a Cup in Buffalo. Sorry.

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