Long has Paul Stastny been linked in the rumour mill for a top quality defenseman, but with the current team playing so well, is it a wise decision to break up a winning team? Would Nathan Mackinnon be ready to be a top 2 centre? Who would play against the top line of the opponent? Stastny is an integral part of this team's success and trading him would create a gaping hole, but does he fit into this teams long term plans? Will Joe Sakic resign him with our young players on the rise who will demand higher salaries? If that's not possible, can this team afford to lose him for nothing in free agency?
Stastny appears to be reinvigorated offensively this year and that probably has a lot to do with his linemates. He has nine points over the past nine games. Stastny and Landeskog appear to have dynamite chemistry and have been the avs best line for the past number of games. Paul still has the offensive skills that he had early in his career. The difference between those years and the past three has been linemates. Who did Paul play with last year? David Jones, John Mitchell, Aaron Palushaj and others. Not exactly top six quality if you ask me. Now he's playing with Landeskog and Tanguay and there has been a major difference in his game. Also, Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda have been a great pair early in this season, so the need for a top blue liner doesn't seem so desperate. As long as this team doesn't fall off a cliff, it may not be a good idea to mess with the chemistry of the team too badly.
Not only has Stastny been producing points this season, he has also been playing against the opposition's best lines and has been put in defensive positions. His play so far has been invaluable to the club and his defensive contributions have been a huge part of that. If he were traded that responsibility would be placed on Duchene or Talbot. I don't think I would want Talbot playing against Toews and Parise and Seguin on a consistent basis. I think Duchene could do it, but that's not where his natural strengths are. He needs to be put in offensive situations and control the play.
Another issue of trading Stastny for a blueliner would be Mackinnon on the second line. We have seen so far in the season that he has much to learn about the defensive side of the game. He has struggled against the top players of opposing teams, which really isn't a surprise considering he just turned 18 and is playing in his first professional season. If the avs weren't having such a good season and weren't in contention for the playoffs, maybe they wouldn't be opposed to letting him work through his mistakes and learn how to be a top centre on the job. That's not quite the case at this point as the avs are top of the league and playing for a spot in the post season in a tough western conference.
So considering Paul's value to the team, I don't like the idea of trading him. I would much prefer the option of resigning. The problem with this option is that the avs probably can't give him a long-term deal and he would probably have to take a pay cut due to the upcoming contracts to Duchene, Landeskog, O'Reilly, Varlamov and eventually Mackinnon. But just imagine having a one two three punch of Duchene, Stastny and Mackinnon when he reaches his prime. I'm not sure if that's possible but I guess we'll see if he fits into Joe's plans and see if Stastny wants to stay in Denevr.
If the avs are in playoff contention by the trade deadline and they don't plan on resigning Stastny, they have a tough decision to make. I think they still have to trade him even if it hurts our playoff chances. You look at the mistake Nashville and New Jersey made by letting Suter and Parise walk. The following year after they left neither team made the playoffs. I don't want Paul Stastny and the avs following that path. This team is built for the future not the present, so keeping him in hopes of a playoff run just to lose him in free agency isn't what this franchise needs.