Chris Stewart is coming off a 30 point season. His track record is solid but his play suffered a lot last season. To plug a guy like that into the 1st line and expect him to produce like a 1st liner might be too much. He was not playing hurt or anything like that last year either. It's a big question mark.
Everyone knows that I love David Legwand around here. But even I know that his stats last season were a bit skewed from his other seasons. I love him as a 3rd line center. But to have him center the 2nd line with a rookie might be asking too much. Stepan, by the way, is a lot more gifted offensively than Legwand IMO. The dynamics change quickly.
Originally Posted by Canada26
Im a huge Legwand mark (since his Plymouth days), and I'll say that he isn't what Stepan is. Im not sure Legwand could hold himself past the 3rd line really, let alone playing between Kreider and Callahan. That line doesn't really fit. And Stewart, regardless of what his points totals were, isn't top line calibre. Maybe, playing with Richards and Gaborik makes it ok, but also, maybe him being there hurts those two.
Not trying to suggest that Legwand has the offensive or playmaking ability that Stepan has, but their production has been similar to this point. Stepan will certainly be better going forward, but from last year to this year shouldn't be that much of a dropoff.
As for Stewart, he's got a 64 point season on his resume, and he's still quite young. Maybe he won't reach those numbers, but giving him top line minutes is the best way to maximize his production (I also couldn't resist the opportunity to put together a classic power forward/playmaker/sniper line). He's rarely been afforded the kind of minutes and quality linemates he'll have in New York. Besides, it's another situation in which I don't necessarily need him to be a bona fide first line player. He's replacing Dubinsky, who was worse last year than Stewart.
I'm not going to sit here and say the offense isn't without question marks, but with the defense and goalie I have, middle of the pack is sufficient. Just how I see it.
Possibly looking for someone to send prospect(s) in a deal where you will acquire Chad Larose. You probably have to be a contender to get the deal done since it will be the second time Larose will to be dealt. Won't be super-expensive.