Free Agent Profile: Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny stares across to opponents during pre-game warmup.

Photo by John Woods of the Winnipeg Free Press

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey

July 1 will be the day that an avalanche will come down on the entire National Hockey League that will change the look of many teams. Free agency provides an opportunity for teams to acquire the necessary assets for taking that next step, or maintain their status as a regular playoff contender. This article will analyze Paul Stastny, one of the top centers on the free agent market in 2018. We’ll look at how he has performed in the league, what kind of contract he would likely receive, and if he’s an actual fit with the New Jersey Devils.

Career

Stasny’s trade to Winnipeg took a lot people by surprise, considering how the Blues were battling for one of the final playoff spots and how well he was performing last season. Stastny’s best years are still with the team that drafted him in 2005. During his time in Colorado, Stastny scored at least 20 goals and 50 points in six out of those eight seasons. Once joining the Blues, Stastny never scored more than 18 goals, with his best season being our most recent that he split between the Blues and Jets. One could assume that Stastny’s play could already declining, until he was seemingly revitalized by the trade to Winnipeg. After the deadline, Stasny registered four goals and 13 points in 19 regular season games before netting six goals and 15 points through 17 postseason contests. Despite his long tenure in the league, Stasny will be 32 when next season begins. While he definitely can’t spearhead a team’s offense, Stasny can definitely supplement a lineup’s top-six or center depth.

Contract Terms

Statsny was paid very generously on his previous two contracts, with his current expiring deal paying him $7 million each season. While his production took a dip over the last four seasons, it’s worth noting Stastny played in just 74 games his first year, 64 and 66 in his second and third year, along with a full season in 2017-2018, where his 53 points marked the Quebec City native’s highest in five seasons. The price for Stastny will most likely be between $5-6 million over 3-4 years with a limited no-trade clause. There is inflation factored into those figures, a prediction based off the market since most would rank him as one of the most desirable free agent centers along with John Tavares, Joe Thornton, and Tyler Bozak.

Should the Devils be interested?

Overall, Stastny is still a resourceful player that could reliably contribute in New Jersey. Having said that, I can’t realistically see the Devils pursuing him this summer. Ray Shero will most likely be content with Hischier as his current top center, with a combination of seasoned veterans and developing youngsters rounding out the rest of New Jersey’s center depth like Pavel Zacha, Travis Zajac, Brian Boyle, Michael Mcleod, and Blake Coleman. The only way going after Stasny makes sense for the Devils is if one of the centers mentioned above shift to the wing or are sent to another team.

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