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Avs have tough decision as Stastny plays out final year of contract

Dec 17, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT

Paul Stastny Getty Images

There was a time not long ago when Paul Stastny seemed a near-sure departure from Colorado once his contract expired following this season, or even sooner via a trade.

Today, the 27-year-old pending unrestricted free agent has 21 points (four last night) in 30 games and would be missed if he left the Avalanche, a team on pace to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

All of which begs some tough questions for Avs management. If the club wants to re-sign Stastny, how much is it willing to give him? His current cap hit is $6.6 million, a high number for a franchise with a budget, but one he’d probably get, or least approach, in free agency.

If, on the other hand, the Avs don’t feel they can get Stastny under contract at a number that works for both sides, do they try and get something for him prior to the trade deadline, or do they keep him for a playoff run and bid adieu in the offseason?

Stastny says he likes being on the Avs now, something he couldn’t say in previous seasons. But according to the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater, that doesn’t mean Stastny will end up staying:

If Stastny stays, that means Nathan MacKinnon has to either play as a third-line center, or on the wing on a higher line. Either he won’t get great ice time as a third-liner, or he’ll get more, but play at an unnatural position.

The Montreal Canadiens have been scouting the Avs heavily all season, and I’m told they have been looking hard at Stastny. The Toronto Maple Leafs need a center badly, too, and you have to believe they’ve thought about making an offer. The list of teams who might give up a lot to get a potential UFA, though, is probably very small. It’s a tough thing, to get much in return unless the player is a bona-fide big star. Stastny doesn’t quite rise to that level.

  1. hawksin5 - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    hello hawks second line center?? goodbye handzus. Saad-Stasny-Kane. oh boy

    • tru2joelu4eva - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      i would love to see that at the olympics.

  2. Gord - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    As an Avs fan I would hope they would be smart enough not to deal him to a division rival. That would be a pretty sick line though…

  3. agentdw - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    i really like the idea of that line…idk if they’d have the cap for it tho. but I’d love it if the Hawks could pull it off, but not likely w/ Kane & Toews extensions coming up

  4. joey4id - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Strictly looking at it from the the on ice product, it would make sense to trade him because Big Mac will need the extra ice time to further his development at a faster pace. Trading him though may not be as simple as they would like it to be. 1) An a UFA the other team would probably like to sign him to a long term deal 2) They will probably want to trade him to the EC. Can you see him in Philly?

  5. vbcaps - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Honestly, I see someone like Florida dropping big bucks on him if he goes to free agency.

    Florida’s new owner came out this week saying they were ready to be aggressive in free agency.

    Although I’m not sure if FLA has too many young, up and coming centers

  6. avsfanjaysonjames - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I really like Stastny, but I’ve never been as big on him as others have been. To me, given his family and the hype he had coming in, I’d say he’s been a bit of a disappointment with the Avs so far. He’s a streaky player that more often than not is on the cold side of things rather than hot. Therefore, I’ve always been of the opinion that I wouldn’t mind if he got dealt. However, having said all that, there’s no denying that he is a good, solid player and if the Avs want to continue winning this season then they should either keep him or get a great return for him that can help them now, because the simple fact is that the Avs don’t have the depth to replace him at this point. The only thing that would make moving Stastny worth it for the Avs would either be getting a top six forward of equal talent and a lower cap hit, or a package consisting of a top four D man and a third line forward. Other than that I don’t see moving Stastny as a good move as far as this season is concerned.

  7. beergold - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    You can bet that Nonis will be calling the Avs to “see what might be possible”.

    Personally I doubt Stastny would be excited about a trade to the place where winning isn’t important but the Leafs could use him for sure.

  8. 19to77 - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    With MacKinnon already a full-time NHLer I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Avs let Statsny go – especially if he still wants $6m-plus to produce at the rate that he has in the last couple years. It’s not like he’s a Selke candidate or a big physical presence, so the pay is pretty steep for what he does. I wager they’ll end up betting on MacKinnon and cutting him loose. I’d like to see him stay with the team, but it just seems unlikely at this point.

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