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2019-20 Player Review: Chris Stewart closes things out

One last season! Happy retirement!

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Philadelphia Flyers Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back with another season review, and after looking at a rookie’s season with the Flyers yesterday, we’re turning now to one of their most experienced veterans in Chris Stewart. It was a bit of a surprise when the Flyers, already dangerously close to the cap ceiling announced that they would be bringing in Stewart on a PTO, and even more of a surprise when he was officially signed to a contract. His season was an interesting one, as he was only in the lineup for a handful of games, spent some time in the press box, and then was ultimately sent down to the Phantoms to end the season. This was the end of his story as a member of the team—he wasn’t brought back for training camp in the return to play, or brought into the bubble in Toronto—and what are we to make of all that? Well, let’s talk about it.

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
16 0 1 1 21 5 0.00%

There isn’t a whole lot going on here. Stewart didn’t play many games with the Flyers, and his minutes were limited in the games he did play, and he isn’t really known for putting up massive offensive numbers, and we didn’t see much of that manifesting at all in his time with the Flyers. He picked up just one assist (a primary assist, for what it’s worth) in his 16 games. He wasn’t able to score at all, but he also wasn’t really putting himself in a great position to do so, as he also registered just five shots on goal in those 16 games. Just not much offense happening, across the board.

The relatively high penalty minute total doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given the role that Stewart often played—rather than a big offensive generator or play driver, he was chiefly a physical presence, and one who wasn’t afraid to get into a fight or two if called upon, so that’s where that’s coming from. And that is a contribution, it’s one that some might find more valuable than others, but it’s something.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
33.68 -18.1 25.59 -20.73 23.08 0.947

5v5 Individual Stats

Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
0 0.49 5.37 0.29

Oh man. Where to begin. It’s worth noting that 16 games is still a relatively small sample, so we’ll keep that in mind, but all the same, these numbers are pretty brutal. Reflecting what we saw in the basic stats, there was very little offense happening when Stewart was on the ice. And that’s not great, but maybe it just is what it is, maybe that’s something we should expect. But making that look even worse is the fact that there doesn’t seem to have been much defense happening when he was on the ice either, as the Flyers were pretty thoroughly out-shot, out-chanced (both in shot attempts and high danger chances), and out-scored when he was out there.

We don’t really want to beat a dead horse here, there’s really no sense in it. These underlying numbers were really poor, and it does make sense that when the Flyers found some combinations for the fourth line that were a bit more consistent, were able to put up some better on-ice numbers and find some better results, that they decided to roll with them instead.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations this season?

This is kind of a tough one. On the one hand, in terms of on-ice impact, there’s a lot that was left to be desired by his play, even if it was in a limited sample, and if our hope coming into the season was that he would be able to chip in even a bit more offensively when called upon, we’re probably feeling a bit disappointed.

But on the other hand, we always knew that a big part of the reason why Stewart was signed was to be a good locker room guy, and that’s a somewhat imprecise thing to try to measure the success of. He seems well liked, certainly enough that the team wants to keep him on to continue to be a positive influence on the players, so perhaps we can call that part a success, at least.

What do we expect from this player next season?

Well, we won’t be seeing any hockey playing from Stewart, for starters! Back in September, he announced his retirement from playing after 11 seasons in the league, and it was promptly announced that he had been hired by the Flyers as a player development coach. So we can expect to see him still around and on the ice during development and training camps, in all likelihood, as well as continuing his role—as Chuck Fletcher alluded to in the announcement of Stewart’s hiring—in helping to mentor young players off the ice.

He also remains a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, and while the group has decided they will no longer be affiliated with the NHL, we can still expect Stewart to remain active in that role, and to hopefully bring with him some of the information and activism from this group to his player development role.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

This one isn’t really applicable in this case, with Stewart retiring and all, so he’s escaping this one unscathed, no critiques to be made here. (Well, we could make them, but it doesn’t really matter at this point). He’s been lauded as a good locker room guy, a good influence, so hopefully he can carry that into his new role with the team. Just keep being you, buddy.