The Carolina Hurricanes placed forward Anthony Stewart on the waiver wire Monday morning.
The National Hockey League’s other 29 teams will now have a chance to claim Stewart, who signed with the Hurricanes this summer on the second day of free agency, by noon on Tuesday. Should Stewart clear waivers, he will remain on the Canes’ roster. Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford said there are no plans to assign him to Charlotte.
If Stewart is claimed, the Hurricanes will be a forward short in their lineup after reassigning Riley Nash to Charlotte Monday morning. With the team not facing Anaheim until Wednesday night, there will be plenty of time to ship a Checker out West. According to Rutherford, this move is an effort to open up roster slots for players in the system.
“It’s an opportunity, possibly, to open up a spot for a couple of the guys that have been called up and down that we think have done pretty well,” Rutherford said. “It’s not a case of a player not doing well or something like that.”
Off pace of his 39-point total from last season with Atlanta, Stewart has 13 points (6g, 7a) through 50 games with the Hurricanes. His plus-4 rating leads the team.
Throughout the season, Stewart has bounced around on the forward lines and was a healthy scratch for three games in mid-November. His ice time, though it peeks into double digits every so often, averages 7:58. Head coach Kirk Muller has recently given Stewart some power play time on the second unit, utilizing his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame in front of the net.
“Kirk has had a little time with him now, and maybe we’re looking for something a little bit different in that role,” Rutherford said.
Stewart, who still has a year remaining on his contract, was signed on July 2nd, a day after winger Alexei Ponikarovsky signed with the Canes. The hope was that bringing in two potential 20-goal scorers would help offset the loss of Erik Cole. With Ponikarovsky dealt via trade on Jan. 20 and Stewart now placed on waivers, the organization appears to be building toward the future with the guys they have in the system.
In other potential transactions news, Rutherford said that he would meet with pending unrestricted free agent Tuomo Ruutu on this road trip to “get an updated on his feelings about his status.” Ruutu’s name has daily been tossed into the rumor mill. Rutherford cautioned against those rumors.
“I’m not actively trying to do anything,” he said.
Rutherford pisses me off quite a bit, if you don't have plans to keep them around don't sign them to begin with (i.e. Ponikarovsky, and now Stewart). I would much rather see Dwyer get dropped than Stewart. Dwyer has done nothing for this team for the entire season.