Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart has agreed to join the Florida Everblades of the ECHL on a lockout deal, according to USA Today.
Stuart, 28, is the latest in a number of locked-out NHLers to join the East Coast league. He’ll join Colorado rearguard Ryan O’Byrne in Florida and could soon face off against a number of his contemporaries: Ryan Reaves (Orlando), Colby Armstrong (Utah) and Kyle Clifford (Ontario) to name a few.
One of the Jets’ four alternate captains, Stuart enjoyed a solid campaign in the franchise’s inaugural season in Winnipeg in 2011-12. He finished second on the team in hits (198) while leading in blocked shots (182) — that number left him tied for eighth in the NHL last season, with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Stuart has two seasons remaining on the three-year, $5.1 million extension signed with Atlanta in 2011.