Jan 9, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Stewart Trade Bait?

The St. Louis Blues apparently aren’t the only team who is taking a hard look at their big winger. Darren Dreger from tsa.ca had this to say earlier today via Twitter:

Western Conf teams suggest the Rangers are gathering intel on Chris Stewart. Callahan for Stewart would be a sweet deal for the Blues. (@DarrenDreger)

Now, I don’t know which “Western Conf” teams he’s been talking to, but one would expect that as trade rumors start to heat up we’ll hear about a LOT of NHL teams interested in Stewie, likely because of the (gasp!) controversy the media and fans created when he played barely more than 5-minutes in a recent game and was”demoted” to the 4th line. That means the Blues are ready to get rid of him, right?

Jan 14, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

And Ryan Callahan for Stewart? There’s no denying Callahan’s skill and his numbers speak to that, but I’m not so sure St. Louis would be interested in another Captain as they already have David Backes. Callahan is also reportedly asking for a boatload of money next year and while the cap is going up, the Blues already have questions about how they’ll be able to spend more money. They still haven’t negotiated an extension or new contract for Vladimir Sobotka, an integral piece of their puzzle right now who should probably get a raise.

You read on this page yesterday that “Chris Stewart will be fine,” and suddenly he’s on the block? Unlikely. The St. Louis Blues have one of if not THE smartest GMs in hockey in Doug Armstrong. He’s not going to make moves just to make moves. He’s not going to handcuff his team financially for the future or look to dramatically alter the chemistry of a team who is on the verge of leading the division at the looming Olympic break.

That said, Armstrong will undoubtedly listen to calls from the rest of the league regarding his players, as well he should. If there’s an opportunity he sees that will make the Blues better, I have confidence Army will do what he feels best. If Stewie doesn’t pick up the pace by the deadline, I’d have no problem seeing him traded, but I also believe he can help St. Louis win The Cup, that he has it in him to get hot and on another scoring streak like we saw back in December.

Jan 9, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues right wing Chris Stewart (25) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches are supposed to try to light fires beneath under-performing players, it’s nothing new or unusual. but when you’re a team near the top you can’t sneeze without someone hearing and reporting on it. It’s like the Ken Hitchcock-Jaroslav Halak incident from last season’s playoffs. That was blown way out of proportion yet even now rumors persist that Jaro is being packaged in a deal to bring Ryan Miller to St. Louis.

Social media is more prevalent than ever before and is primed to ignite like an old barn full of drying hay. I’ve already seen multiple fan reactions to Dreger’s Tweet this morning. Rumors can be fun this time of year and I don’t have any problem with anyone suggesting the deals, but as fans shouldn’t we take a step back and look at the bigger picture? Until I start seeing Stewart in the press-box a few games in a row I’m giving the chatter much more than a cursory glance.

Tags: Chris Stewart Rumors St. Louis Blues

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