Danny Stewart's next game in Memorial Coliseum won't be Thursday, it will be Jan.8. The Komets traded the popular winger this morning to Danbury for defenseman Ryan Jorde, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound defenseman. Because of injuries, the Komets desperately need defensemen.
“We need defenseman, and you've got to give up a good player to get a good player,'' Komets coach Greg Puhalski said. “They were looking for a Danny Stewart-type of player, and we're getting a stay-at-home defenseman who has played the last couple of years in the American League with Rochester. We need some help on the blue line, and this is what we need to do right now.''
Jorde, who is expected to be in the lineup Thursday, has no points and 10 penalty minutes in six games to far this season and is minus-5 on the plus-minus rating. He's 23 years old.
“This isn't something we just thought about because of the weekend,'' Puhalski said. “We hate to lose a player with Danny's popularity with the fans. He's been a good player for us. It's a matter of situation and circumstance. We're 3-7-2, and that's not good. We felt something needed to be addressed and we did what we felt was right for the team.''
Stewart, 26, has two goals and 36 penalty minutes in 11 games this season and is minus-11. This was Stewart's third season with the Komets. He was Fort Wayne's Rookie of the Year in 2003-04 and the Mr. Hustle Award winner the past two seasons.
“It is part of the business and I understand that, but I didn't see it coming,'' Stewart said. “You play for a team for over two seasons and all of a sudden you are gone just like that. I was very upset when it happened. At the same time I'm excited to go to Danbury and get a fresh start.
“The team has obviously struggled a little bit, but part of that is a shortage of bodies. Three-games-in-three-nights is hard enough and then your'e playing with four defenseman and eight forwards.
"Obviously my stats weren't there, but that comes with team success, too. I didn't think I was playing bad. Maybe I could have done a little more. I don't think my performance had something to do with me being traded, I think it was the team fulfilling a need they had on defense.
At practice this morning, Several Komets said they were stunned by the move.
“I'm totally surprised, mostly that a guy like Stewie is a fan favorite and is probably our hardest worker on the team,'' defenseman Guy Dupuis said. “Things weren't going as expected so the general manager and the coach decided they had to make a move somehow and improve our team. Somebody had to go, and unfortunately it was him.''
Puhalski said he's just going day-to-day on deciding whether to make more moves.
“First of all, it's part of the business,'' defenseman Troy Neumeier said. “The second thing is it just tells the rest of the guys that nobody is secure around here.''