In the early season Deutsche Eishockey Liga standings, the Straubing Tigers stand in the middle of the pack at eighth in the fourteen team league. The team’s only Ontario Hockey League grad this season, Karl Stewart, is pulling his weight at a point per game pace.
Stewart played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-01 to 2002-03, all with the Plymouth Whalers. The crash and bang forward put up great offensive numbers in his final season with the Whalers, scoring 35 goals and adding 50 assists for 85 points in 68 games. He was also the team leader in penalty minutes with 186.
Over his three seasons with Plymouth, the Whalers were the West Division regular season champs each season. In Karl’s first season, the team made it to the Robertson Cup finals before bowing out to the Ottawa 67’s in six games. In his final season, Plymouth lost a seven game battle to the Kitchener Rangers in the Western Conference final.
Although undrafted, Stewart has played 69 games in the National Hockey League with the Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning. He was also part of the Anaheim Ducks organization for a brief moment and played in the Florida Panthers organization during his last season as a pro in North America.
As a rookie in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves, Karl was part of the Calder Cup finalists that succumbed to the Philadelphia Phantoms in four games. In his final season in the AHL before leaving for Germany, Stewart was the goal scoring leader for the Rochester Americans with 20. The Americans honoured him with the Rob Zabelny award as the team’s unsung hero in that 2008-09 season.
Stewart enters his second season with Straubing after a decent first season with the club. He contributed 26 points in 40 games and wasn’t a liability when it came to time spent in the sin bin. His 30 minutes were a far cry from the seasons of 186, 226 and 184 PIM that he racked up in his first three seasons in the AHL.
Recently, we’ve featured two other Plymouth Whalers grads at OHL Alumni Central: