Picking an underperforming player on the Colorado Avalanche this season isn’t an easy task, The team looks poised to secure a top pick in this summer’s draft, and in all likelihood could finish dead last in the Western Conference. It was a bit of a surprise that the Avalanche didn’t move the underperforming center at the trade deadline, but give his production and rather large contract that would not have been an easy task to begin with. A cap hit of $6.6 million makes Paul Stastny the highest paid player on Colorado’s roster, but his nine goals and 21 points place him third in scoring.
In contrast to Stastny, team leaders Matt Duchene (16 goals, 39 points) and P.A. Parenteau (16 goals, 40 points) make $3.5 million and $4 million per season, respectively. Stastny scored 21 goals and had 53 points for the Avalanche last season, but has had several lengthy scoring droughts this season. It took him seven games to find the back of the net this season, and he came through with a pair of goals. He also had a six-game scoring drought in March, and since returning from injury on Apr. 10 he has managed one goal and two points.
Stastny’s numbers wouldn’t be horrible for a second or third line center on a contending team, but the Avalanche pay him like a top-three forward and he hasn’t lived up to that this season. The contract holdout of Ryan O’Reilly was a black mark on the start of the Avs’ season, but it isn’t hard to see why O’Reilly thought one good scoring season should land him a healthy payday as well. The Avalanche are in line for some changes in the offseason, and moving Stastny could be one of their first moves.