The Colorado Avalanche received multiple benefits when they matched the offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly a couple of weeks ago. The first was simply the fact that he’s back in the lineup. And a $5 million cap hit isn’t the worst thing in the world for a player with his upside.
Another major benefit is the fact that it could allow the Avalanche to deal Paul Stastny prior to the trade deadline. He’s been a name that we’ve heard in trade rumors for the past couple of years, but this looks to finally be the year that the Avs end up moving him.
After a career-best 79 points back in 2009-2010, Stastny has had a couple of disappointing seasons, at least by his standards. Last year was particularly frustrating, as he had just 53 points in 79 games and a minus-8. He has a cap hit over $6.6 million through next season, which is part of the motivation behind trading him, other than the fact that he’s the third center on the depth chart, behind O’Reilly and Matt Duchene.
The cap hit is probably going to cause some teams to shy away, since the salary cap for each team is shrinking going into next season. But that doesn’t mean it will be too difficult to move Stastny.
This is a guy who looked like an elite center a couple of years ago. He’s still only 27, and it’s not like he’s a total bust for the Avalanche. In fact, he’s a very solid two-way forward. He can produce offensively and is very solid in the faceoff circle. Teams are going to want him. There just isn’t room for him in Colorado anymore, especially with O’Reilly’s return.
The trade market right now for centers is pretty thin. The likes of Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy will probably fetch a nice haul this year, if either are traded. And that’s for a pair of solid centers that are free agents this summer. Which means that the Avalanche could probably receive a terrific package if they choose to move Paul Stastny next month.