View Full Version : Stewart getting another chance

07-11-2008, 12:39 AM
Stewart getting another chance
The Panthers secured forward Anthony Stewart for one more year Wednesday and also added a pair to their coaching staff.

Stewart, 23, accepted the team's qualifying offer and will have another chance to shed his underachiever label.

The Panthers' first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2003 draft, the Toronto native has five points in 46 career NHL games. He was recalled from the AHL eight times last season and posted one assist and a minus-1 rating in 26 total games with the Panthers.

General Manager Jacques Martin said Stewart, whose NHL salary last season was $600,000, was retained as a restricted free agent because "we've spent a lot of money and time with Anthony and it's our benefit if he succeeds." Martin, who has criticized Stewart's fitness and commitment in the past, said Stewart is moving to South Florida to work with a personal trainer.

"Anthony seems to have a better understanding of where he's at and that he controls his own destiny," Martin said. "He realizes this is a key season for him. ...You hope the last three years he has learned and he'll come to camp and show us he's ready to play in the National Hockey League."

New coach Peter DeBoer, who'll decide Stewart's fate, filled out his staff by hiring Jim Hulton as an assistant coach and Jamie Pringle as the video coach. Hulton, 39, was co-coach and general manager for Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League last season he has coached two other OHL teams and was an assistant coach to DeBoer with Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championship. Pringle, 32, spent the past two seasons as the video coach for Hockey Canada.

"Peter is well surrounded," Martin said. "He has brought in people he feels comfortable with." Hulton replaces Guy Charron, whom DeBoer decided not to bring back. Martin said he's not sure what role Charron, who has one year left on his contract, would serve in the organization should he remain with the Panthers.

Nieuwendyk joins Leafs
Joe Nieuwendyk, whose contract as Martin's special assistant ended June 30, has signed to become Toronto Maple Leafs' special assistant to General Manager Cliff Fletcher. Nieuwendyk said his duties would be very similar to those he had in Florida. Nieuwendyk played one season in Toronto before joining the Panthers as a free agent prior to the 2005-06 season. He retired from the NHL in December 2006 because of chronic back problems.

"There are number of factors involved not just hockey-related. It's a different situation, different type of team," Nieuwendyk said leaving Florida for Toronto. "I have an opportunity to be involved with a storied franchise right in the backyard of where my brothers and sisters live. ... I have no ill feelings at all [toward the Panthers]."

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/hockey/panthers/sfl-flsppanthers10sbjul10,0,5740060.story)

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