NHL Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche: The Case For Keeping Paul Stastny

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche figure to be a pretty busy team this summer, on the heels of a mighty disappointing season that saw them finish at the bottom of the Western Conference. As the draft nears at the end of this month, one of the hotter storylines appears to be whether or not the Avs will trade Paul Stastny.

The Stastny rumors have been going for the past couple of years. With Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly already on the roster, it’s simply too much coin to pay three centers. Which has led to one of them playing on the wing, or being underutilized, or incorrectly utilized. For much of 2013, that player was Stastny.

Looking at his numbers, it’s not a stretch at all to say that Stastny’s 2013 campaign was a disappointment. While Duchene got back on track towards superstardom, and O’Reilly showed flashes of getting back into form after a holdout, Stastny finished with just 24 points in 40 games.

A disappointing total, to be sure. Especially for a guy who has touched the 70 point mark three times in his career and is carrying a cap hit of $6.6 million. But as disappointing as it was, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of his zone starts came in his own end. Which doesn’t make sense for an offensive player of his caliber.

There’s also the fact that this is an Avalanche club that simply didn’t have the type of role players that allowed their top tier offensive talent to be successful. Up in the top six, sure. They have plenty of talent. But when Stastny is playing with disappointing players like David Jones and Jamie McGinn for most of the year like he did, you can see why there was such a decline in his production.

Stastny has a lot of trade value, there’s no doubt about that. With a year remaining on his contract, one has to wonder if this is the last season for Stastny in Denver either way. But it’s hard to make an argument that says the Avalanche will be better off without Paul Stastny.

He’s one of their best offensive players and part of the young offensive core that has come together. If the Avs, who aren’t in any sort of cap trouble at this point, can put the proper supporting players around him, and Patrick Roy can utilize him a bit more effectively, holding onto him may prove more beneficial to the Avs than dealing him.