Chris Stewart is heading to Southern California.
According to CBS Sports Radio’s Andy Strickland, the Anaheim Ducks are expected to announce they have inked the 27-year-old right winger to a one-year deal.
This past season, Stewart was one of the names most frequently mentioned in trade talks and it was believed the Buffalo Sabres, whom Stewart began the season with, were looking to move the power forward from the beginning of the year. It took until the trade deadline for the Sabres to find a deal to their liking and, at the deadline, Stewart was shipped to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2017 draft.
Stewart, who was a two-time 28-goal scorer early in his career, has struggled to recapture that scoring touch but, after a slow start, had a decent season in 2014-15, considering he was the center of so much trade speculation. In 81 games this past season, 20 of which were in Minnesota, Stewart scored 14 goals and 36 points, the third-highest total of his career. In eight playoff games, Stewart registered two assists in eight games.
In a sense, Stewart will fill the void left by recently departed winger Matt Beleskey at what will likely be a much more palatable cost. Beleskey landed in Boston at $3.8 million per season as one of the summer’s most coveted free agents. Stewart finished a two-year, $8.3 million contract this past season, but he’ll likely take a pay cut in Anaheim.
The Ducks will be the fifth club of Stewart’s young career. Drafted by the Colorado 18th overall in 2006, Stewart was part of the Avalanche’s Erik Johnson acquisition from St. Louis, included in a package from the Blues to nab Ryan Miller from the Sabres and subsequently sent to the Wild.