Lets face it, there will be a ton of rumors over the next two weeks linking Stastny in a trade to another team. Howard Berger has already re-ignited the Stastny to Toronto rumors. Darcy Regier is looking for a shake-up and wants a scoring center (along with a lot of other teams) so naturally Stastny is linked to Buffalo. So should Stastny be in play?
Why would the Avs even want to move Stastny? He's just now entering his prime. He's a veteran presence on a very young team. He's produced at a .88 points per game pace over his career despite some time with muckers and grinders as wingers. His playmaking ability allows him to make those around him better. Most of all, having him on the team will make it easier for the Avs to attract quality UFAs.
Then again he does make 6.6 million for two more years. Has seen his numbers drop the past two seasons. Has Duchene and O'Reilly as competition for the two scoring line center spots not to mention possibly Hishon down the road. I'm sure Leafs fans can think of a few other reasons why he's no good so we will leave it at that.
IF Stastny is traded, where really looks like a good destination? The Avs have shown the ability to trade anyone to anyone but they have been consistent in one aspect. A supporting player (Hannan, Quincey, Wolski, etc) is generally traded for another supporting player (Downie) or someone with unrealized potential (Flash, Mueller, etc). A quality player (Shattenkirk, Stewart, etc) is moved in trades for quality back. Sherman has shown he values "assets" (a lot of 1 for 1, 3 for 3 trades or even getting more assets in return than traded away). If Stastny is moved, it will be for quality assets and not dumped for a pile of lesser players. Sure we could all be shocked by a Toronto or Buffalo trade but it may be best to look at a few that most would not expect.
Columbus: Possibly the best "fit" for a trading partner. Columbus is a mess. They can't draft well, they can't trade well and the team hovers along the line of whether or not to blow it all up or keep piecing things together for as long as possible (the Calgary way of life). They showed a willingness to trade top draft picks and to acquire "name" players. This time a year ago they traded a high first rounder, an inconsistent top 6 forward and a 3rd rounder for Jeff Carter (who has produced ONLY 3 more points than Stastny despite playing nearly 100 more games). Why not trade for a center that can make his wingers better? Maybe his acquisition makes waves to keep Nash and provide him with the playmaking center he has needed. If not, he provides Columbus with someone who could help them stabilize the forward ranks and take pressure off Johansen. Columbus is in bad shape and to blow everything up (trade Nash) would hurt an already struggling franchise that has so many holes (did I mention they need quality goaltending prospects?). They don't have the time to hope their draft picks develop properly let alone take risks that they never pan out. With 3 of the top 4 forwards having russian backgrounds (the other being a swedish forward who has never played NA hockey) they run into another issue. Both teams could benefit greatly trading with each other as Colorado has Stastny and quality goaltending prospects. Columbus has a very nice first rounder, Brassard, and a few other assets of interest.
Montreal: Other than being a familiar trading party, Montreal has been trying to find a quality scoring line center for years. They swallowed the contract of Gomez, pursued Eller in the Halak trade, gave a tiny AHL regular a chance to be a top 6 forward, and have hoped Plekanec would solidify himself as a first line center (and now he is entering his 30's). They have pursued centers like the Avs used to pursue goalies. One of them should stick right? Perhaps its time for Montreal to just pay what needs paid and acquire the quality center they need like the Avs did when they traded for Varlamov to finally fill the hole. Montreal has a lot of good prospects and a very nice first round pick.
Winnipeg: Kind of off the wall option. No not a trade of Stastny for Kane but who knows. The Jets have a few centers with potential in Burmistrov and Scheifele but both are still being developed and could falter or flounder. They have Little who has always been better as a winger than a center, and Antropov who is slowing down and looks to be a top 9 forward anymore. So a quality center for their top scoring line would be of interest unless they are looking to spin their wheels while the two youngsters hopefully develop properly. Who wouldn't love seeing Stastny passing to Kane every game...unfortunately it would probably be on the Jets. They could also use some quality goaltending prospects as they are thin there too. Like Columbus, they have needs at more than one position that the Avs could help with. Like Columbus they have a younger inconsistent scoring line forward (Little) who could use a change in scenery and also a very good draft pick in the first round. While not the perfect partner, one to consider.
Just three teams that may be of interest to follow if you are looking to move Stastny. Unless someone is offering the Avs a top pick, it may be best to keep Stastny as his presence will help to convince quality UFAs to sign with the Avs. If they do move Stastny, you would think he would bring back a very nice return.