Wild's Chris Stewart claimed off waivers by Calgary Flames
ST. PAUL — Chris Stewart was claimed by the Calgary Flames on Monday, Feb. 26, one day after the Wild placed the veteran winger on waivers.
"That's the tough thing about our business, losing a good friend like Stew," said defenseman Matt Dumba, one of Stewart's closest friends on the team. "It's hard. He's going to my hometown, so I'll make sure I take care of him.
"You've become accustomed to it with (Marco Scandella), (Christian Folin), Darcy (Kuemper), (Erik Haula). It's a part of this. He's getting an opportunity to play on a playoff team. Hopefully it can further his career."
Stewart had 13 points (9 goals, 4 assists) in 47 games with the Wild this season while spending most of his time on the fourth line.
That said, he had fallen out of the rotation as of late and was a healthy scratch 12 times this calendar year. Because of that, the Wild decided to place him on waivers to give him a chance to earn more playing time elsewhere.
"I was really happy" he got claimed, coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Quite frankly, we pretty well knew he was going to get picked up. He's too good a person, too good a teammate for nothing to happen to him. Calgary got better with him."
Besides his production, the 30-year-old Stewart brought much-needed leadership to the locker room, something the Wild surely will miss.
"(We are) going to miss how vocal he is and how much fun he is," Dumba said. "He keeps it light in the room with how he's always joking with everyone."
"Just a lot of energy. Just a good guy," Zach Parise added. "He brings a lot of life into the room, onto the bench, and onto the ice. That's tough to replace."
With Stewart being claimed, the Wild will be relieved of his $1.15 million cap hit. That should give them the flexiblity to call up Luke Kunin from the minors and sign Jordan Greenway out of college at some point this season.
Eric Staal was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday after helping the Wild go 4-0-0 last week to move into third place in the Central Division.
Staal had four goals and three assists, tallying a point in all four games. He leads the Wild with 30 goals and 29 assists.
The honor came less than 12 hours after Boudreau mentioned how Staal doesn't get enough attention nationally.
"Maybe they heard me," Boudreau joked. "He deserved it. He's quietly at 30 goals. Not putting any pressure, but there's that outside chance he could get 40 (goals). Who would have thunk? That's pretty darn good."
Jonas Brodin skated for the second straight day on Monday morning and should return to the lineup for Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Blues. He has missed the past nine games with a left hand injury.
"He's been cleared," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "Unless something comes up that I don't know about, we're expecting him back, and that will obviously be a tremendous boost to our club."