Depth does it, and these days, that requires more than just grit.
This trade was was robbery. Look at the helicopters above.
Anthony Stewart and the two future draft selections attained by the Kings for Kevin Westgarth unquestionably bolsters what is arguably already the NHL‘s most complete roster. Trading Westgarth came at a very low-risk, and Dean Lombardi milked it for all it was worth – and more.
This day in age, an NHL enforcer, which are now more so considered “physical 3rd, 4th line forwards”, can’t earn ice-time by just throwing fists and aggressively using the body at-will. There’s got to be some skill-fed output, whether it be offensive or defensive.
This is why Kevin Westgarth‘s playing time was basically non-existent throughout the Kings’ Stanley Cup run last season. Other players who could hit and fight – yet score, such as Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan, and Dwight King, pushed Westgarth out of the picture.
Anthony Stewart is now another name on the Kings’ roster that fits the same role that overshadowed Westgarth’s contributions. Stewart’s offensive NHL output trumps not just Westgarth’s, but those of Clifford, King and Nolan – the three physical back-end forwards that outplayed Westgarth.
The Florida Panthers, who drafted Stewart #25th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, never cashed in on their investment, seeing Anthony Stewart suffer a wrist-injury that kept him out the majority of his rookie season, then spending most of his time in the AHL thereafter.
As soon as Stewart cut ties with Florida’s organization, he blossomed. In 2010-2011 with the Atlanta Thrashers, Anthony Stewart was an every-day asset. He dressed in 80 regular season games, potting 14 goals and 25 assists for an attractive 39-point total. His 55 penalty minutes that season complimented his 3rd/4th line physical role.
Last season, Stewart played with the Carolina Hurricanes, appearing in 77 regular season contests. His output suffered a minor decrease stats-wise, notching 20 points with nine goals and 11 assists, but still very respectable for his duty.
There’s room here for Stewart, and the possibilities are promising. For what a gut-feeling is worth, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jordan Nolan and Dwight King thrown into a trio with Stewart.
And even if that isn’t the case with Stewart’s arrival to the Kings’ roster, it’s an immediate upgrade to Kevin Westgarth, without a doubt.
Another fine move made by Dean Lombardi.
Stewart tricks Anaheim
Ain’t that nice.