I am sure most readers saw that Stewart scored two goals last night against Columbus including the game winner in OT. Both goals were classic Stewart. I watched the game and noticed something. He was more than just a Right Winger.
He is it; he is the number 1 player. Oshie, Pieterangleo, Perron, Backes, Halak, nope. Stewart is it now. Stewart is to St. Louis what Duchene is the Avalanche. He is their Jarome Iginla, he is their Brett Hull; they are building their team around a great winger and defensive core. Does this remind any reader of another team? The Flames maybe?
He is a great player, but on the Avs he would always be third on the offensive depth chart behind Duchene and Stastny. He will score 40 goals and likely 50 in a season. I doubt he would have done that on the Avs because he is not the offensive leader, he is Duchene's or Stastny's wing. Though power forwards are very hard to come by, so are Centers with the skill of Duchene and Stastny.
It is even clearer to me now why the Avs management saw an opportunity to trade him for a cornerstone, Blake-like, defenseman; a defenseman that they could not have signed via Free Agency this summer and may not have had a chance to get for years. They knew the Avs were being built around two centers, just like the 1995 Avs, and Stewart either would have had to accept being third in the ranks or not resign in 2012 because he wanted to be the star.
I do not believe you can build a team around a winger. I think it has failed in the past. Though the Avs drafted another Iginla, they did not want to build the team around him and I don't think they should. I like this trade not because it brought back Johnson, but because they saw an issue coming and I think they realized Stewart would have left in 2012 to go be "the man" for another team. Maybe they lose him to an offer sheet and get three picks, maybe he just won't resign. Who knows.
It will sting for years to watch him score left and right, and on us of course, but I think this move (disregarding the other parts of the trade) was genius now, yes genius. If I had my choice, I would choose Duchene over Stewart and I believe that is what Sherman and PL did.