Skip to content

UFA of the Day: Paul Stastny

Jun 18, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

Paul Stastny AP

Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Paul Stastny

Arguably the biggest impact player available (potentially) in unrestricted free agency. Stastny is only 28 years old — young, compared to most UFAs — and he’s one of the better two-way centers in the NHL.

In 2013-14, Stastny had 25 goals and 35 assists while playing out the last year of his five-year, $33 million contract with the Avalanche. If he stays in Colorado, it’s likely he’ll have to accept a hometown discount. Possibly he’d even have to take a pay cut, given his expiring cap hit was $6.6 million and Matt Duchene is signed through 2018-19 for a cap hit of $6 million.

It’s expected talks between Stastny and the Avs will start shortly.

“We believe Paul wants to stay as an Avalanche next year and we think there’s a good chance he can sign with us,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said a while back, per the StarTribune. “How it happens, that will be up to [executive vice president] Joe [Sakic] and [Matt Keator, Stastny’s] agent to discuss. I think Paul has the Avs in his heart, he loves to be in this town and he loves these fans.”

The thing is, on the open market, Stastny wouldn’t be out of line to ask for $7 million-plus per season. Think that’s high?  Take a look — there are no UFA centers under the age of 30 that are of Stastny’s caliber. The closest is Mike Santorelli, who isn’t very close at all. And remember, there are teams with cap space this summer.

Where could he go?

Well, if the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t interested in Stastny, they should be. The Leafs haven’t had a true No. 1 center since Mats Sundin left.

The Anaheim Ducks should be interested. So should the St. Louis Blues. And the Dallas Stars. We’re not saying any of those destinations are likely, but Stanley Cup champions typically (not always) have two excellent centers. (Think Anze Kopitar/Jeff Carter this year, and Patrice Bergeron/David Krejci in Boston.) If the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t have Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in line for big new deals, we’d say they should be interested too.

Back to the Avs, who have another interesting situation with Ryan O’Reilly, who’s none too pleased with being taken to arbitration by the club. We suggested in January that they consider trading O’Reilly (the blue line could use some bolstering) and re-signing Stastny. And we stand by that, because losing Stastny for nothing would be a big blow to a team that’s finally back on the radar in Denver.

  1. areaman714 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I think he might want north of 7 million per year in the open market. Not many teams in real Stanley Cup contention will want to pay that for him. The teams that have the cap space are still 3-4 years away from contention and I don’t think he wants to get involved in a rebuilding process. I can see him going to the Sharks if they are able to move Thornton. Doubt the Ducks and Hawks. Oilers/Isles would love him I think. My money would say he stays with the Avs.

    • pjblake2redwings - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      If he went to the Isles that would a a huge 1 & 2 center with Stastny behind Tavares

    • rsl22 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      The Caps have 20 players under contract and $13MM in cap space; $17.5MM if they buy out Brooks Laich.

      Nick Backstrom makes $6.7MM; the Caps should buy out Laich and offer Stastny $6.7MM as well. That leaves around $10-11MM to re-sign Grabovski and add a defender and back-up goalie. Definitely doable and in the (weak) East, they become a threat virtually overnight.

      The Caps are just one example. The Wild have space available to do something similar. So do the Red Wings and Blues. There are lots of teams that would be able to find the cap space to add a productive two-way center in the prime of his career.

      • polegojim - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        But he’s a two way center…. In the prime of his career… Who guarantees a good year… Every contact year.

      • areaman714 - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        I am not an expert on the Caps, but with the regime change, I have the impression they may invest more in the blueline this offseason. That, and the Caps are still in a bit of a state of entropy . . . I’m not sure that is a situation Stastny would be interested in. Money talks though . . .

  2. lowenni - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    I could see Statsny taking a bit of a paycut to stay with the Avs. Personally I’d rather have him on my team that O’Reilly, who is annually creating a show of his selfishness and big aspirations for getting paid. He’s good, but I wouldn’t pay him $5.5 mil+. If Campbell really wants out of Florida like the previous article reports than I think he would be a great addition to the Avs roster with elite puck moving ability, leadership, and Stanley Cup experience. Flip O’Reilly’s rights and maybe a conditional pick if he doesn’t sign to Florida for Campbell? That would teach O’Reilly to keep his demands in check.

    • hosewater2 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      You think a package of Brian Campbell is enough to net ROR? What’s it like to dream whilst awake?

      • lowenni - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:42 PM

        O’Reilly is a restricted free agent. Whatever team trades for him would be trading for his RIGHTS, not him. They wouldn’t be sure he wants to sign for them, what his contract demands are, etc. Usually you just get back at most a 3rd round pick for shipping out a players negotiating rights.

      • hosewater2 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        Usually, but this is a young two way centre with huge upside. Just saying I think that Colorado will get way better offers, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Vancouver part with Kesler, Edler or Garrison in a package that included ROR. Obviously any team acquiring his rights would have to be fairly confident that could sign him, so then it just comes down to whether the receiving team feels they can pay him what his agent feels he’s worth.

      • jonnyhammersticks - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        That’s for the rights to UNrestricted free agents. Restricted free agents can still get a large return because their only options are essentially sign with the team or hold out for a trade or a better contract. Restricted free agents can’t negotiate with other teams so this is a lot different than the Dan Boyle situation for example where the Islanders could lose him for nothing.

    • tru2joelu4eva - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      why in the world is everyone so down on ryan o’reilly?? he is the most dedicated player on the team and easily has the potential to be that “elite two-way center” that is so crucial to playoff success. seriously, was game one of the quarterfinals this year the first time ya’ll watched avs?

      • lowenni - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        I like him a lot, he’s a great two way player–but my point is he doesn’t put up the point totals in ADDITION to his two-way game that would necessitate the contract demands he’s asking for. If he goes somewhere else, he’ll get his payday, but I just think keeping a real vet like Statsny who’s equally as valuable (and potentially can put up more points), or acquiring a serious blueliner is more important than overpaying for ROR.

      • tru2joelu4eva - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        i’d take ryan o’reilly on my team over paul stastny regardless of any reasonable salary difference

      • polegojim - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        That I definitely agree with tru2

  3. thomasvanek - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    I would love to see him come to Buffalo! There were rumors a few years ago that we were going to try to get him back when we were a playoff contender, but it never happened. We have a ton of cap room and we need a top center.

  4. avfanforlife - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Stastny will remain an AV. He’ll put team over the extra cash any day. Probably settle in at $6mil give or take a few 100k. ROR on the other hand… He’ll go to the highest bidder which is too bad because he is definitely an asset, at least ON the ice.

    • 950003cups - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      Stastny will go to the highest bidder as well.

  5. tross16 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Stas and Zajac as the devils 1&2 would
    Be nice

  6. withseidelinn - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Leafs could really use a guy like this. Solid two-way player in his prime. I’ll get thumbs-down for this but Stastny is essentially Bozak 2.0 – more offensive potential and experience with similar size. Don’t see how it would ever work with the cap issues, as the Leafs would have to move a substantial contract. Regardless, will be fun to watch how this plays out. I doubt th Avs will be able to hold on to both Stastny and ROR.

  7. hosewater2 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Avs don’t play this right and they will lose both Stastny and ROR. Scary thought if I’m an Avs fan.

  8. dickschofield8291986 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    I became an NHL fan when Paul’s dad and uncles played for the Nordiques. I was too young to remember the details, but my dad took me to Kings games whenever the Nordiques were in town. We’d catch more & more Kings games together as more Czechoslovak (and then, Czech or Slovak) players arrived. Dad was really sick when I took him to see Kings v. Avalanche in December, to let him watch Paul play. That was our last game together and seeing this post brought back that memory.

    Man, he would’ve loved seeing Gaborik lift the cup.

  9. hauger88 - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    For 7+ a year I hope Sather decides to pass

  10. hauger88 - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    I’d rather wait a year or 2 then go put the money into oreilly

  11. avscup - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Makes no sense. They need to sign them both now or lose them both now. ROR is an RFA and the Avs are going to arbitration with him.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1599)
  2. P. Kane (1548)
  3. M. Richards (1338)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1187)
  5. N. Backstrom (1076)