The Winnipeg Jets have brought back one of their free agents, center Paul Stastny, on a one-year deal worth $3.75 million.
This new deal extends Stastny’s second stint with the team, who reacquired the 35-year-old in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights in Oct. 2020.
Stastny is the son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, who tore up the league as a member of the Quebec Nordiques in the 1980s. Paul was born in Quebec, where his dad played; however, he grew his name in the game by having two outstanding seasons in the United States Hockey League and another two seasons with the University of Denver.
His dad’s old franchise, which has since relocated to become the Colorado Avalanche, drafted the 6-foot, 193-pound center in the second round (44th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He came into the league at 21, playing an entire campaign (82 games) and scoring 78 points. Stastny continued to be a vital part of the Avalanche’s offense for eight seasons before hitting the free-agent market and moving on to the St. Louis Blues. He departed Denver as the franchise’s 11th leading scorer of all-time, just nine spots below his dad, who is in second.
In St. Louis, Stastny played four seasons, scoring 175 points in 267 games. Unfortunately, he missed out on the club’s historical playoff run in 2019, which resulted in a Stanley Cup championship. The Blues thought Stastny was still a hot commodity during the 2017-18 season and flipped him in a trade with Winnipeg. The Jets surrendered a first-round pick in 2018 and a fourth-round selection in 2020 as well as prospect Erik Foley in the three-for-one deal.
Stastny enjoyed success right out of the gate with his new team, scoring 13 points in 19 contests of the regular season before collecting 15 points in 17 games of the postseason as the Jets lost to the Golden Knights in the conference finals. As the old saying goes: “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Stastny opted to test the free-agent market again and signed a three-year contract with his former foes in Vegas. The deal had a value of $19.5 million with a $6.5 million annual average salary.
While his career in Vegas didn’t yield the results expected of such a hefty contract, 80 points in 121 regular-season games and 17 points in 25 postseason games, Stastny was traded back to Winnipeg on Oct. 9th, 2020 for a fourth-round pick in 2022 (conditional) and prospect Carl Dahlstrom.
Second Tour of Duty
Stastny comes back to Winnipeg with a lot to prove, not just to himself but to his teammates as well. Although he is on the back end of his career, he didn’t miss a game during the shortened 2020-21 season, the third time in his career he suited up for every regular-season game.
Twenty-nine points are the second-lowest single-season point total of his career, but he showed versatility by playing all three forward positions on various lines throughout the season. No matter where he plays, head coach Paul Maurice can rely on Stastny to fill in the gaps and constantly provide some offense.
This new contract is an excellent deal for both sides. Winnipeg doesn’t cut deep into their cap space, and Stastny has a chance to prove himself, which could lead to a more significant contract next spring.
Ryan Gagne is back for his second tour of duty with The Hockey Writers. In 2021 he wrote about the New York Islanders and now will embrace the challenge of covering the Calgary Flames. The best part of this new assignment is Ryan currently lives in Edmonton and will get to see both sides of the Battle of Alberta up close and personal. None of this will make much sense since he was born and raised in New England and the Boston Bruins are his still team.