In the days of the NHL salary cap, it could almost be considered a blockbuster deal. Earlier today, the Buffalo Sabres sent star goaltender Ryan Miller and team captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. In return, the Blues sent William Carrier, Chris Stewart and Jaroslav Halak to the Sabres. Both Steve Ott and Chris Stewart earned their wings in the Ontario Hockey League.
Buffalo has abandoned all hope for a Stanley Cup playoff appearance in 2013-14 and is off-loading those will become free agents in the off-season. The Blues are setting up for a hopeful long run at the Cup. If Miller can regain his Vezina winning form, he will be a huge asset for St. Louis.
Ott played three years in the OHL from 1999-00 to 2001-02, all with the Windsor Spitfires. He was a second round pick by the Spitfires at the 1999 OHL Priority Selection, 41st overall. In his final year with Windsor, Steve was the team captain. In 2001 and 2002, Ott played for Canada at the IIHF World Juniors. In the first year, Canada won bronze and in the second year they stepped it up a notch to grab silver.
The Dallas Stars took Steve 25th overall at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He has played in the National Hockey League since 2002-03 with the Stars and Sabres. Ott once again performed on the international stage, competing for Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Championships.
Steve was traded from Dallas to Buffalo prior to the 2012-13 season, in exchange for OHL grad Derek Roy. He was team captain for the Sabres from the start of the 2013-14 season. Ott is nearing the 700 regular season NHL game plateau and should surpass the mark very early in the 2014-15 season. Steve is a free agent after this season.
We’ve discussed older brother Anthony’s travels around Europe this year. Now, it’s Chris that’s on the move. There’s still a chance that he will be flipped by Buffalo as part of another deal before the deadline. Stewart played three years in the OHL from 2004-05 to 2006-07, all with the Kingston Frontenacs. Like Steve Ott, Chris was team captain in his final year.
The Colorado Avalanche took Stewart 18th overall at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. His first pro action came in 2006-07 after the Frontenacs were eliminated from Robertson Cup contention. Chris played five regular season games with the Albany River Rats in the AHL, along with one game in the Calder Cup playoffs.
Stewart has been a full-time pro since 2007-08 in the AHL and NHL. He was traded from the Avalanche to the Blues in February, 2011. That spring, Chris played for Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Championships. Barring injury, he will reach the 400 game plateau either very late this year or very early in 2014-15. Stewart is signed through the 2014-15 season.