The Colorado Avalanche and Paul Stastny were not able to come to terms on a new contract, which will result in the veteran center testing the NHL’s free-agent market at noon ET on Tuesday.[tweet https://twitter.com/renlavoietva/status/483763922949120000 align=”center”]
Stastny will be the top center available on the open market. He’s just 28 years old and tallied 60 points (25 goals, 35 assists) in 71 games last season. The Quebec City native has never failed to post less than 50 points in a season in which he’s played 50 or more games.
The Avalanche have plenty of centers on their roster with Ryan O’Reilly, Matt Duchene and reigning Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon all capable of excelling in a top-six role, but Stastny was a very important part of the team’s journey back to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2013-14. It’s not easy to replace someone who provides consistent scoring, size, power-play skill and experience to a young team on the rise.
Given the lack of elite talent at center on the free agent market, Stastny likely will receive better offers from rival teams. Any club in need of a No. 1 center should consider the Avalanche star as a free-agent target.
What will it cost to sign Stastny? He’s coming off a five-year deal worth $6.6 million per season, and likely will seek a deal at or above that level following the second-best year of his career. There are currently 13 centers with a salary cap hit of $6.6 million or higher signed for the 2014-15 season.