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After mid-season trades in each of the last two seasons, Chris Stewart appears to have found a fit in Minnesota.
The 27-year-old was dealt to the Wild by the Buffalo Sabres on March 2 and appeared in 20 regular season games for Minny scoring three goals and eight assists to go along with 25 penalty minutes and a plus-4 rating.
He added two assists in eight playoff games.
Stewart’s two-year, $8.3 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday making him an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. However, he doesn’t seem too interested in testing the market.
“Hopefully there’s an opportunity for me to come back here,” Stewart said during the Wild’s locker clean out day in May. “Me and the family both enjoyed our time here. Thought the fit was perfect. It’s a good group of guys here. I think the future’s definitely bright here.”
The Wild currently have nine forwards under contract for the 2015-16 season with around $7.9 million of cap space to play with, according to Generalfanager.com.
Stewart had 28 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but since then has scored more than 15 goals just once (18 in 2012-13).
Just how much Stewart enjoyed his time in Minnesota will be known in the coming days.
The 6-foot-2, 228-pound forward, who was originally a first-round selection of the Colorado Avalanche in 2006 (18th overall), will likely need to give the Wild a “hometown” discount in order to remain in Minny.
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