In an effort to jumpstart one of his biggest offensive threats, Ken Hitchcock has moved forward Chris Stewart to the fourth line. After hovering around thirty goals the past two seasons, Stewart’s offensive production has dropped significantly this season.
The right-winger has put up a meager twenty-two points so far this season and has contributed just two points over the Blues’ past twelve games. Hitchcock believes a move to the fourth line will serve as a stimulus to Stewart’s offensive game.
The Blues head coach spoke about Stewart’s demotion with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford after today’s practice, “Before you can think about scoring goals, you’ve got to start to work…we need him to have way more impact on the game. He’s too good a player to just go quietly by the night.” Stewart will leave center Patrik Berglund, who will remain on Hitchcock’s second line, and will join new line mates Scott Nichol and Chris Porter.
Rutherford also caught up with Stewart after today’s practice, “Obviously not contributing offensively and something had to be done. They feel like that’s the right approach and I’ll just go from there.” Stewart doesn’t seem discouraged by the move and is apparently looking forward to a chance to regain his spot on the second line, “I’ve been in this position before … just got to get back to work.”
The Blues also made some personnel moves today. With Jason Arnott returning from his shoulder injury, Doug Armstrong sent defensemen Ian Cole and center Evgeni Grachev to Peoria. Armstrong is still actively searching for a defensemen to add depth to the Blues’ roster prior to the February 27th trade deadline.