GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28: Keith Yandle #3 of the Phoenix Coyotes hits Alex Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues on February 28, 2009 at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) By Bruce Bennett
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: Alex Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues skates against he Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on December 11, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) By Harry How
(HockeyStL) -- When he arrived to town via a trade from the Colorado Avalanche 2010, Chris Stewart made an immediate impact for the St. Louis Blues. The 23 points (15 goals, eight assists) in his first 26 games as a member of the Blues were reasons enough for fans to be excited for his first full season with the team.
But that excitement would be substituted with frustration after Stewart failed to produce at the same level the year prior. Inconsistent play from Stewart led to fewer minutes on the ice and resulted in only 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 79 games played last season.
“I’m really motivated. I’m hungry,” Stewart said.
The motivation and hunger might be a direct effect from his offseason diet which consisted of foods high in protein, low carbohydrates and lots of vegetables. Stewart is nearly 20 pounds lighter than last season. He projects that his body fat dropped two to four percent.
“It’s the best I’ve felt in my life,” Stewart added.
The new-look Stewart could spell trouble for other teams if he performs as well as he feels. In the team’s first scrimmage Tuesday, Stewart scored a goal on a one-time feed from Jaden Schwartz about seven feet outside the crease. The 6’2”, 228-pound forward went top shelf on Brian Elliott from one knee.
The Blues are hopeful they will see more of that when the game counts.
If there is more reason to be excited it might be because of Stewart’s linemates, Patrik Berglund and Schwartz. The trio has been impressive throughout the first part of training camp which has caught the attention of Ken Hitchcock.
“I thought Berglund’s line -- I thought the whole (Team) White forward group, all three lines, we’re very effective,” Hitchcock said after the initial scrimmage. “Berglund’s line was very effective. Schwartz was really on the hunt and created a lot of issues for defense.”
Stewart was also used as one of three power play units during the scrimmage as well. He shared the ice with Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Andy McDonald and Kevin Shattenkirk during the one-man advantage portion of the scrimmage.
Of course these lines are not permanent and could easily change by the season-opener Saturday night. The news is still reason enough to be excited to watch Stewart play in 2013 and clearly the coaching staff does not believe they will see the Stewart of last season.