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NHL Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche: Paul Stastny Leading The Way For Team USA

Avs Paul Stastny Team USA

Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

Team USA is moving on to the semifinals of the 2013 IIHF World Championship after a thrilling 8-3 win over Russia on Thursday. While this may not seem like the biggest news to Colorado Avalanche fans, they should at least take note of how well center Paul Stastny is playing at the tournament. After a somewhat disappointing nine-goal, 24-point season with the Avalanche, Stastny has been the most consistent producer for Team USA. His six goals and 13 points lead the team, and he found the back of the net twice against Russia to help his team advance.

The U.S. now moves on to face Switzerland on Saturday, while Sweden and Finland will meet in the other semifinal. Craig Smith of the Nashville Predators has also had a strong tournament, and his five assists in the rout of Russia put him right behind Stastny in points.

Even if Stastny’s scoring totals are doubled to account for the shortened season, it would still be his worst performance of the last four seasons. The Avalanche head into the summer with a serious need to rebuild, but Stastny and his $6.6 million cap hit will still be around for at least another season. He may not have lived up to his potential in what was a trainwreck of a season for the Avalanche, but perhaps his performance on the international stage shows that things are once again clicking for him. That would be great news for the Avalanche, as the team finished 26th in the league in goals per game this season.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.