Updated: 12:40 p.m.
The work and the wait have paid off for Chris Stewart.
The Flyers signed the veteran winger on Tuesday to a one-year, one-way contract worth $750,000. Stewart, who turns 32 years old this month, had been with the Flyers on an NHL pro tryout since the beginning of training camp.
"We're happy to have Chris under contract," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a release by the team. "Chris came into training camp with a great attitude and a strong work ethic. He brings size and a veteran presence to our lineup."
The journey is the destination!! Thanks to all my family and friends that held me down during this whole process I’m truly blessed. Let’s get it #FlyOrDie— chris stewart (@Cstew_7) October 15, 2019
Stewart projects to be the club’s extra forward. However, he was in the lineup Tuesday night against the Flames.
The Flyers had cap space and roster space for Stewart. Through the first three games, the team did not carry a 13th forward and had only 21 players on the roster. With the waiving of defenseman Andy Welinski, who is headed to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, the cap space was created to finally add Stewart, a good insurance policy for the Flyers.
When Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder) returns, there will be an odd man out in the Flyers’ lineup and it projects to be either Connor Bunnaman or Carsen Twarynski, both 21-year-old rookies. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to have either of those two watch from the press box instead of further developing with the Phantoms.
Meanwhile, Stewart will welcome the opportunity after being out of the NHL last season and playing for the EIHL’s Nottingham Panthers. He’ll be a positive personality in the dressing room, a quality guy for practice and a capable fourth-line power forward if the Flyers need to call his number.
At 6-foot-2, 243 pounds, Stewart brings size and physicality, which the Flyers value. Those traits can play well in head coach Alain Vigneault's system.
Stewart has ties to Fletcher and assistant coach Mike Yeo, from their days in Minnesota. Stewart played parts of three seasons for the Wild from 2014 to 2018, putting up 25 goals, 20 assists and a plus-6 rating in 146 games.
Overall, he has played 652 career NHL games between six teams, with his best season coming in 2009-10, when he scored 64 points (28 goals, 36 assists) over 77 games for the Avalanche.
“Chris, to me, this is a guy who scored quite a few goals in the NHL,” Fletcher said Sept. 26. “He’s got a lot more skill I think than people give him credit for. He’s a really good skater, especially in a straight line. He’s lean this year. This is the best shape he’s been in in years, at least that I’ve seen, and he obviously brings the physical element. He brings the elements of being a pretty quality power forward.”
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