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Fletcher Strikes Again, Brings Back RW Stewart

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Chris Stewart returns to Minnesota after spending a year in Anaheim.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Chuck Fletcher has decided to return a bit of grit to the lineup by signing Chris Stewart to the deal he could not get done last summer.  Stewart returns to the Wild for 2 years at $1.15M AAV.  Stewart departed a cap-strapped Wild team last summer for a season in Anaheim under then coach Bruce Boudreau, and now returns to both his former team and coach in Minnesota.  Stewart had a rough go in Anaheim as injuries held him to just 20 points in 56 games.  Prior to that, Stewart put up 36 points in 81 games between Buffalo and Minnesota.  The two-time 28 goal scorer has been trying to find his scoring touch for several years as he has bounced between Colorado, Saint Louis, Buffalo, Minnesota and Anaheim since 2010.

Stewart was traded to the Wild from Buffalo in a deal that was announced several hours after the deadline had passed in 2015.  Fletcher had been pursuing Stewart, but couldn't find a match with Buffalo GM Tim Murray until Murray called with a last second offer that cost the Wild their 2nd round pick in 2017.  Fletcher was looking to add size to a small and fast lineup at the time and has done so again by adding the 6'2" 231lb RW.  Stewart has also been known to possess a mean streak and will stick up for his teammates, which could be useful in protecting the perpetually abused Wild forwards.  It will be interesting to see how Boudreau deploys Stewart, but it will almost certainly be in a bottom-6 role, which is in contrast to his first stint in Minnesota.  However, Stewart is a shot generator, and doesn't have great defensive stats.  Here's a look at his HERO chart:

HERO Stewart

As with any deal, this signing will only show its value if Stewart is able to perform in the role he is given.  But, at 2 years and $1.15M AAV, it hardly handicaps the team.  It's a movable contract at deadline time and leaves some assets for the Wild to fill out their fourth line, with the top-9 being completely filled out.  It also adds a physical presence that the Wild are sorely lacking and could prove to be a decent value signing.