Avalanche Final Grade 2012: Paul Stastny

April 7 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) skates during the first period of the game against the Nashville Predators at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Paul Stastny

#26 / Center / Colorado Avalanche



Dec 27, 1985

2011 Cap Hit: $6,600,000

2012 Status: 2 years left on the contract

To continue on the Milan Hejduk theme from yesterday, Paul Stastny had the most disappointing season of his NHL career. The problem is, Stastny is 10 years younger than Hejduk and really should be at his peak. Excluding his injury-shortened third season, Stastny had his lowest point output (53) of his career and is now two years removed from his last 70-point season. To put that in perspective, that's 4 more points than Tyler Arnason scored in his first season in Denver. Arnason was about the same age then as Stastny is now. One huge difference: Arnason didn't make $6.6 million per season.

And that's really the heart of the issue with Paul Stastny. Sure, he's great at faceoffs and all that, but he's here to score points. He should be the guy in Colorado, not just a part of the cluster fuck of middling numbers. By my count, 33 forwards made over $6 million last year, just a shade more than one per team. 28 of them had a higher point per game rate than Stastny. (Ironically, 2 of the lowest were Stastny and Ryan Smyth - both Francois Giguere contracts). Stastny is getting paid like a top-tier player, primarily because he used to put up numbers like a top-tier player. Used to. 53 points is nice for Ryan O'Reilly and Tyler Arnason. It should not be good enough for Paul Stastny

2012 Outlook: Barring trade or blossoming career as a commercial actor, Stastny will be the Avs #1 center next year.

DDC's Take: I mentioned money above even though we all know the Avalanche are not hurting for cap space. But Stastny's contract and past performance make him the 1A center that the Avs have built around. The team can't just bring in a pricey free agent center to upgrade the position without doing something with Stastny...but you aren't going anywhere as a franchise if your top center (sorry O'Reilly and Duchene) is barely breaking 50 points. Those 5 $6 million guys with the lowest PPG I mentioned above? They play for Colorado, Minnesota, Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal. I don't think I need to tell you what they have in common.

Steve's Take: Stastny was very average as the year began. Confirmation bias tells me he missed about eleventy billion open nets. However, as was probably mentioned above me, he also played with a veritable tossed salad of wingers. Hejduk? Duchene? Jones? Hlinka I mean Ledin wait no Holøs erm, Lindstrom? Kobasew? Winnik? Galiardi? Stastny's best chemistry has always been with Milan Hejduk, who was uhhhhhh not very good this year. So Pauly's 21 points in 37 games (11g10a) and eye-test phantomness in 2011 can at least be somewhat explained; however, that can't be accepted as good enough for your #1 C. Despite what I felt to be some really odd media about his "poor play" down the stretch, he turned it on to the tune of 32 points in 42 games in 2012, and he was actually driven by assists this time (10g22a). He was maybe a little unlucky (PDO-983, on-ice sh% around 7%) at times, and he led the team's centers with 55.4% at the dot (a stat he has just dominated at Worlds by the way). It's the right pattern for Stastny, slow in the fall and getting hot around the all star game, but it's just not the type of numbers we've come to expect from a guy who's had over 70 points 3 times (once in a season he only played 66 games) and it's not what we need from a #1 C. Maybe with some more consistency (and more talent on the wing:D??????????????) he can return to form next season.

2011 - Paul Stastny 79 21 32 53 -8 34 7 0 2 190

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