Veteran center Paul Stastny is entering the final year of his contract with the St. Louis and will need to decide whether to re-sign or let him go. Stastny will be 32-years-old at the end of the upcoming season and shouldn’t be expected to perform up to the level he once did. He has a cap hit of $7 million and if he wants to stay in St. Louis that’ll have to come down. If the Blues and Stastny aren’t close to a deal by the 2018 deadline it may make more sense to trade him.
Advantages of Keeping Stastny
Trading Stastny won’t be an easy decision for Blues management to make. It’s a choice the Colorado Avalanche struggled with before allowing Stastny to go to free agency at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Stastny’s value is also evident off the ice as he is one of the alternate captains on the team. He has played over 700 games in his career and plays a valued leadership role on the team. He’s someone who can be counted on to help motivate his teammates to perform. His leadership could be key this season when a player, such as Ivan Barbasheve, makes the jump from the AHL for his first full year in the big league.
Advantages to Trading Stastny
While the idea of trading Stastny may cause some fans headaches there are certainly advantages to it. Firstly, trading him would mean the Blues could get something in return rather than letting him walk away for nothing. Secondly, as previously mentioned, Stastny will be 32-years-old at the end of the season and his production will start to decline. He may be the starting center on the team now, but it’s doubtful he could play that role in two or three years.
Paul Stastny and Wayne Simmonds (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
The Blues are currently without a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, having traded it away in order to get Brayden Schenn. Stastny could be someone the team is looking to move in order to get a new pick in the first round next year. Think of him as this year’s version of Kevin Shattenkirk, who was traded for a first-round pick and some prospects last season. Another deal like would absolutely be to the Blues’ advantage.
Trading Stastny could also save St. Louis quite a bit in cap space. As mentioned, he is taking up $7 million annually. A deal for a few prospects and a pick or two would be more economicalthan trying to negotiate another deal worth millions per season.
Looking at the pros and cons of keeping Stastny I think the Blues are much more likely to trade him at the deadline this season instead of signing him to another contract. When predicting what St. Louis will look like three years from now Ken Campbell, of The Hockey News, agreed and left Stastny off the Blues’ team. The fact is, that players entering their mid-thirties aren’t something that most teams are looking to sign to long term deals, which is probably what Stastny will want to stay in St. Louis.
Paul Stastny and Sean Couturier (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Of course, circumstances will play a part in the Blues’ decision to trade him. If the team is just outside the playoffs at the trade deadline they may keep him in order to help push them into the postseason. Looking at the team just before the season starts though, it seems to me that Stastny’s time in St. Louis may be coming to an end.