What To Expect From Chris Stewart And Jordan Leopold


For the third year in a row, the Minnesota Wild can be categorized as “buyers” after the trade deadline with the additions of Chris Stewart and Jordan Leopold. Both players bring elements that will hopefully benefit the Wild as the schedule begins to bite in mid-March with four back-to-backs involving critical points.

With the Wild hampered a bit by injuries again, both Stewart and Leopold will make their debuts tonight in St. Paul as the Senators invade the Xcel Energy Center. Ottawa is on its last gasp and trying to make a late charge at the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

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So what can we expect from the new guys as we near the playoffs? That’s an extremely difficult question to answer given their respective histories, but let’s try to break both players down and shed some light on what they’re capable of bringing to the table.

Chris Stewart

Where should I start with this guy? Chris Stewart has been quite an enigma since he entered the league with the Avalanche back in 2008-2009. The former 18th overall draft pick scored 64 points in his second NHL season before seeing a fairly drastic role change when he joined St. Louis.

Playing more on the 3rd line with the Blues, he embraced the role of a muck and grind power forward. Expect him to bring much of the same to the Wild as the season rolls on and if they make the playoffs.

Despite his nature as a quality tough guy, Stewart has never really been able to find a comfortable home. He’s often been used as a bartering piece in trades throughout his career which makes you wonder if there is a reason he isn’t meshing.

My opinion? Get this guy on the right team and he’ll fill a couple of difficult to find roles. Chris Stewart isn’t going to blow anyone away with skill, but he brings to the Wild grit that was previously lacking. Think of him as a poor man’s Milan Lucic, a menace in front of the net with an in-your-face edge. Even though I hate what the Avalanche, more specifically Cody McLeod, did in the waning seconds of Saturday’s tilt, I’m curious to see Stewart’s response if he’s on the ice when something like that happens.

Jordan Leopold

First and foremost, what an awesome story from the world of sports yesterday. Leopold’s 11-year-old daughter, Jordyn, wrote a letter to the Minnesota Wild coaches begging them to trade for her father. She exclaimed that the whole Leopold gang missed their pops who was struggling in Columbus and implored the Wild to bring the Minnesota native home. A few hours later, one daughter’s wish was granted and he’ll be in the lineup tonight.

From his days as a Hobey Baker winner at the University of Minnesota, Jordan Leopold can be categorized as a puck moving defensemen. His most dynamic quality comes in the defensive zone as he moves the puck well and springs forwards into the neutral zone.

He likely won’t crack the lineup on a nightly basis once Scandella and Spurgeon return from injury, but he certainly provides quality depth to a blue line that has been hampered all season.

In addition, his presence in the locker room should be great for a relatively young group of defensemen that includes a handful of guys under the age of 25. Even if he doesn’t play as often as he’d like, Leopold is no doubt happy to return home based on his quotes this morning when he joined Paul Allen on KFAN.