Trade target Chris Stewart to be healthy scratch tonight

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By the sounds of it, Chris Stewart will be a healthy scratch tonight when his Sabres host the Kings.

If that’s indeed the case, nobody should be too surprised. Stewart has just three goals in 27 games and played a mere 7:48 in a fourth-line role Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Florida.

Stewart, 27, was once considered a rising star in the NHL. Selected 18th overall in the 2006 draft, the big winger scored 28 goals for the Avs in 2009-10.

Since then, however, he’s been traded twice, to St. Louis, then Buffalo. And given he’s a pending unrestricted free agent, he may well be traded once again by the March 2 deadline, if not considerably sooner.

The Bruins and Senators are among the teams reportedly interested. The question is, what would Stewart cost?

On the one hand, Stewart’s got 118 goals in 409 career games, and that puts him in the company of a guy like the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds (122 goals in 475 games).

On the other hand, Simmonds has steadily improved his production since his early days with Kings, while Stewart has, well, if you’re a healthy scratch in Buffalo, it’s probably fair to call that bottoming out.

Teams will still be interested though. After all, a lot of players have bottomed out in Buffalo. The Sabres have by far the worst offense in the NHL. In a different situation, Stewart could thrive again.

At least, that’s the story GM Tim Murray will have to sell.

Update:

Yep, he’s scratched.

And he’s not too eager to talk about it.