They’ve done it, folks! The Flyers signed Chris Stewart, and some of the contributors here at BSH have some thoughts on that. Let’s get into it
Steph: I think it’s clear he’s not a good NHL player and that the Flyers have better options in their system. But I just don’t care. Maybe I used all of my give-a-fuck during the Haksol era, but I simply don’t care. If he’s getting 8 minutes a night, whatever. If he’s getting 8 minutes a night in critical situations and he’s blowing games for the team, then I will be singing a very different tune. But right now I just don’t know how Big Al and the Ass Crew are going to use him.
Kelly: See, I don’t like the idea that no one is supposed to care about a roster spot and valuable cap space being used for a guy that is just not good at hockey. Nice guy. Clearly everyone likes him. Cool. Wasting a spot on him is a problem and we should absolutely care about it, regardless of how many minutes he ends up playing.
Steph: Oh I’m not saying people shouldn’t be mad, I’m just saying I don’t have the energy. I will always defend everyone’s right to be mad about any and everything.
Kyle: Steph this is basically my exact thoughts on it. No energy for it.
Maddie: I think the big thing for me is that we expected once Andy Welinski cleared waivers and the Flyers had cap space again, that they would be using it to call Philippe Myers back up and carry eight defensemen (as Alain Vigneault said he wanted to). But instead they used that money to sign Stewart and now Myers just has to hang out in the AHL, where he’s too good to be, presumably until someone gets hurt, because they don’t seem willing to waive Samuel Morin or Robert Hagg. And that’s a problem, in my opinion. Stewart might not move the needle on this team, but Myers certainly would, and now he can’t be here.
Steph: I think being mad that Philly Phil isn’t on the team is a whole different issue. Because that is absurd and will never stop being absurd.
Maddie: And we very nearly had the cap space to bring him back! Very nearly!
Kyle: I just can’t bring myself to be upset over a 12th/13th forward is my thing. He’s not going to play enough for this team to make a huge difference, and he won’t be the reason they win/lose games. The only thing that bothers me about this, is that we heard so much about how AV wanted eight defensemen, but unless something crazy happens, Myers won’t be getting the call. Other than that, I just don’t have the energy. I understand being frustrated, but not entirely upset.
Brad: Frustrated is a good word for it. Though at the same time I too just don’t care? But it’s more because I’ve accepted that this is what hockey teams do. They do things that seem not good, and they all do it. So, yeah, it’d be nice to be different, but it’s not like I expected that to be the case.
Kelly: Well, he’s in the lineup tonight so I guess we’ll see what’s what.
Kyle: Chris Stewart scoring the opening goal tonight folks, bank it.
Maddie: Go Flames.
Brad: Jori Lehtera played 27 games for the Flyers last season. Do we think Stewart plays more or less?
Maddie: Ugh. More.
Steph: Oh god I need to think it will be less. JORALD.
Kyle: Less, assuming Nolan comes back relatively soon and stays healthy. It’s hopeful, but still.
Maddie: Okay, that’s a good point. I think they may want to play him more, but more healthy bodies coming back into the lineup might push him out.
Kyle: I think it’s also important to remember, even though it was just after one game, AV didn’t like Stewart’s game. At the very least I think that could show he’s not married to the guy.
Brad: *Tanner Glass has entered the chat*
Steph: I’m still trying to give this crew of coaches the benefit of the doubt. Chuck Fletcher did come in last year and got rid of Jorald, Dale Weise, and Christian Folin, so I’m having a hard time thinking he’s completely biased in favor of Stewart, but it’s possible I guess. In that case, I’ll have to hope AV likes :checks notes: Connor Bunnaman better. Is this where we get to say that Bunnaman hasn’t been good?
Maddie: He’s struggled a bit, for sure. And I think where I come down on that is, well, we wouldn’t really be in the position to need to send messages like that if Fletcher hadn’t gone with the hot hand out of camp, and German Rubstov (who is better) had made the team. But that’s a whole other issue.
Brad: In an ideal world the posts that Joel Farabee hit in preseason would’ve been goals, he would’ve blown everyone away and made the team like Travis Konecny did when he was 19, Carsen Twarynski would be on the fourth line, Farabee would have his current spot, and this roundtable wouldn’t even exist. But here we are.
Maddie: Whomp whomp.
Kyle: That’s another part of this where I think something to this move is a message to Bunnaman. Like, “Hey kid, you haven’t been playing well, start or Chris Stewart of all people is going to take your job!” So maybe Stewart gets in there for a few games, then Bunnaman gets back in if Stewart doesn’t play well (which he probably won’t).
Maddie: But, that said, I think Fletcher has shown that he has His Guys who he likes from his time in Minnesota and tends to want to hoard them. And Stewart is, uh, well he’s one of them.
Brad: That’s true, but he’s also not dead-set on having them on the NHL roster. Look at Nate Prosser, for instance. If things don’t go well, there’s a bit of an out here. Sort of, anyway. But hey, maybe things will ... go ... well?
Maddie: That’s a good point. And I think the fact that this is a one-way contract and he gets paid NHL money no matter where he’s playing gives credence to the idea that they’re doing him a solid by tossing him a contract and plan on sending him to the AHL at some point this season. Even if that would mean things getting a little weird for the Phantoms (because of that pesky veteran limit).
But this is all getting us pretty deep into the realm of pure speculation. What we have right now is: Chris Stewart is a Flyer. He’s playing tonight. And he might be bad, we’ll see soon enough. And we’ll see what the team does after or because of that. And we’ll all inevitably get a little mad in the process. Such is our way.
Go Flyers? Go Flyers.