Will Stewart Match Campbell?

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Updated: October 28, 2014

Former NHLer Greg Stewart has signed to play with the Gander Flyers of the Central West Newfoundland Senior Hockey League this season.  If the buzz being created about this latest addition is any indication, Flyers fans are in for a treat this season.

Drafted in the 8th round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Stewart is a hard hitting winger that brings skill, speed and toughness to the Gander lineup.  The Flyers have touted Stewart with the following billing in their press release shortly after his signing:

Standing 6’2 and 200 lbs Stewart is a hard-nosed player who plays the game the right way – he can skate fast, hit hard, fight and score.

They followed this up shortly after, posting the following video from YouTube on their Facebook page:

There’s no denying that Stewart can play hockey.  To crack the Montreal Canadiens’ lineup for 26 games you can play hockey.  Stewart however has been signed to replace Peter Campbell, one of the smoothest skating and smartest hockey players that was one of the best players in the league last season.  Will Stewart be able to put up the same kinds of numbers that Campbell did?

Last season, Campbell racked up 25 points in just 17 games, scoring 15 goals and adding 10 assists and finished just 1 point behind the team leader in scoring, Chad Locke … impressive numbers for any player in the league.  Stewart did make it to the big leagues, playing in the NHL for what is arguably one of the best NHL franchises ever.  Campbell never did play in the NHL and was never drafted.

If we compare Stewart’s stats with Campbell’s stats as published on The Hockey Database, here’s what we see:

It’s obvious that Campbell is the obvious scoring threat and if we examine the PIMs for each player, it’s also obvious that Stewart is more likely to end up in the penalty box.  The excitement around Stewart being able to “fight” and posting a YouTube video showing a great scrap in the NHL is generating some buzz.  Fans are hoping that the added toughness and the mere fact that Stewart is an ex-NHL player will pay dividends on the ice.  There is also no doubt that the Flyers’ management is hoping that this excitement translate into a packed arena.

Fans however, should not get excited because Stewart can drop the gloves with the best of them.

The rules in the league have not changed and dropping the gloves will result in a game misconduct. This will hurt the flyers and prevent them from being competitive in a league where the other teams are focusing on speed and skill. This isn’t to say that Stewart is not skilled and doesn’t have the speed.  Watch a few clips of him on YouTube where he’s playing hockey and you can definitely see this kid has talent.

There is no denying that the Flyers have stepped up their game and signed a quality player.  Stewart will have an impact and will draw fans.  As a die hard hockey fan, one can only hope he lives up to his billing.

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