Mark Stuart has been a Winnipeg Jet since he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers alongside Blake Wheeler from the Boston Bruins for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. Stuart has been a loyal soldier for the Jets, blocking countless shots and scoring the odd goal. That said, Stuart’s role changed this year: he was no longer guaranteed to be in the lineup and he was no longer wearing an “A” as an alternate captain.
While Stuart was scratched for most of the first two months of the season, when he started playing, he played a lot. Much like Chris Thorburn and Brandon Tanev, it is not Stuart’s fault that he played as much as he played this year. It is most definitely not his fault that he gets paid what he does to play in the NHL. Stuart might have been a decent NHL defenceman at one point, but he is no longer that player.
This might be the most remarkable 10 game rolling average CorsiFor chart this year for the Jets as Stuart never broke the 50% CorsiFor barrier. It is really a feat unto itself and an illustration as to how broken the Jets defence truly is. Stuart simply cannot get the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone. However, it also shows insight into why the Jets struggle so badly: their depth guys are so bad that there is no way they can battle to even against players of similar skill.
With one more year at over two million dollars there is not much that the Jets can do about Stuart this offseason unless the Las Vegas Golden Knights pick him in the expansion draft. Otherwise, it is possible he gets sent to the AHL next season. That said, it is very likely that Stuart ends up with the Jets again next year because they would not save any money having Stuart in the AHL and there are no cap concerns next year. On y va.