Sports Outside the Beltway

Atlanta Thrashers sign Noah Welch and Anthony Stewart

Two former Florida Panthers have moved on. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution-

Adding depth in their roster, the Thrashers signed unrestricted free agents Anthony Stewart and Noah Welch on Monday. Contract terms were not disclosed.

Stewart, a forward, had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 59 NHL games with Florida last season. He has appeared in 105 career NHL games. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Stewart, 24, was a first-round pick by the Panthers in 2003. He has a career total of 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) in 130 AHL games with Rochester and San Antonio.

Welch, a defenseman, had two points (one goal, one assist) in 40 NHL games with Florida and Tampa Bay last season. He has appeared in 73 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Florida and Tampa Bay. The 6-4, 220-pound Welch, 26, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2001. He has a career total of 59 points (16 goals, 43 assists) in 122 AHL games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Rochester.

At this point in his career, you have to label Stewart a draft bust and a very big one. He was selected 25th overall and in over 100 Florida Panther games, he scored 4 goals and 8 assists. Not the type of numbers you want from a 1st rounder or a forward. I’ve seldom missed a Panther game for the last two years. Stewart never impressed me, and I doubt he will turn around his career in Atlanta.

Welch is a whole other story. His biggest problem in Florida was staying healthy. He may be of use to Atlanta.

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