January 21 2013 12:59PM
LAK put Anthony Stewart on waivers. VAN puts Jim Vandermeer on waivers.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 21, 2013
The waiver wire includes a pair of interesting names today. In Jim Vandermeer, there’s a physical depth defenceman; in Anthony Stewart a former first-round pick with a few intriguing seasons behind him. Is either guy worth taking a flyer on?
Vandermeer’s been a nomad for a couple of years now. Presently with the Vancouver Canucks, over the last six years he’s played in Chicago, Philadelphia, Calgary, Phoenix, Edmonton and San Jose. The bad news is that nobody sees him as an essential element of their team; the good news is that lots of teams see him as a useful stopgap at the bottom of their defensive depth chart.
That’s exactly what he is at this point in his career. Offensively, Vandermeer is a non-factor, but he can hold his own in the defensive zone. He didn’t fit in overly well with the Sharks, and he’s probably not a guy that a contending team wants on their roster every day, but there are definitely teams where he could be considered an upgrade on some of the current talent. For example, the New York Islanders are playing in a game today where waiver-wire pickup Brian Strait is on the second pairing while Matt Carkner and another waivers acquisition (Joe Finley) hold down the third pairing. The case for Finley is that 6’7” can’t be taught; the case for Vandermeer is that he hasn’t spent a healthy chunk of time in the ECHL at any point in the last three years.
For a team needing some a guy who can play 10 minutes a night without embarrassing himself, Jim Vandermeer could be a big help. On the other hand, some of the teams that could really use a guy like Vandermeer might be thinking more about this summer’s draft than they are about the waiver wire.
Stewart, superficially, looks like a great reclamation project. Former first round pick? Check. Size? 6’3”, 230lbs, check. Reasonably young? Just turned 28, sort-of-check. Decent numbers? Picked up 39 points for Atlanta in 2010-11, check.
The problem is that he isn’t a very good player.
For years and years, Stewart was a mediocre scorer at the AHL level. In three seasons between 2006-2010, he never topped 31 points in the minors. One of those years was spent in the NHL; he had seven points. He was a 20-point guy last season; during the lockout this year he got outscored in the U.K. by David Ling and a whole list of players less famous than David Ling.
There’s a whole raft of statistical points I could make to demonstrate that 2010-11 was an aberration, but there’s not much need. A cursory glance at Stewart’s career confirms it. He’s not an above average player defensively and despite his size he’s not a consistent physical presence either; without the scoring, he just doesn’t bring a lot to an NHL roster.
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