Could the New York Rangers be interested in St. Louis forward Chris Stewart? According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, it’s shaping up that way…
Western Conf teams suggest the Rangers are gathering intel on Chris Stewart. Callahan for Stewart would be a sweet deal for the Blues.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014
Stewart, 26, could be made available after playing a season-low 5:32 against the Islanders and getting dropped to the fourth line against the Devils this week.
“It’s obviously a message,” Stewart said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “So, the message has been delivered and it’s how you respond. I can’t worry about who I’m playing with or all that other stuff.
“I have to worry about what I can control, and that’s how I play. So I have to stick with it here and try to raise my level of play.”
In the first of his two-year, $8.3 million extension — signed on the strength of last year’s 36-points-in-48-games performance — Stewart has been maddeningly inconsistent this season. On the surface, his 15 goals and 25 points through 52 games might seem OK, but eight of those goals came in a six-game span, and he has just two in his last 17 contests.
Saturday’s game on Long Island was one of his worst this season. Stewart was essentially parked, getting just three shifts in each period while sitting the final 11 minutes, and finished minus-2. The next game out, against the Devils, he was demoted to the fourth line alongside Maxim Lapierre and Brenden Morrow.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock isn’t one to single out players, but appeared to be referencing Stewart when he said the Blues had “too many passengers” during a recent slump. Hitchcock also added that Stewart needs to play a more direct-line game.
As for the Rangers, they’ve reportedly included Callahan’s name in trade rumors already and balked at the captain’s asking price for a new deal — $42 million over seven years, according to the New York Post.
Callahan, who turns 29 in March, is a pending UFA at season’s end.