Dater: Paul Stastny could be odd man out with Avalanche by season’s end
It may work out that the Avalanche can keep three very good centers beyond this season in Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. But most everyone believes one of them will have to be traded before too long, and odds are that player will be Stastny.
It may be an uncomfortable topic for everyone around the dressing room, but it is reality. There are only so many minutes to go around for a team’s top forwards, and anyone out of the top six more often than not stays slotted in a utility role.
Right now, the Avs have a 22-year-old center in Duchene who just signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension, and an 18-year-old No. 1 draft pick in MacKinnon who could be a superstar. They have a fourth-line center,John Mitchell, who probably deserves to be moved up another level.
Stastny, 27, is in the last year of his contract, which pays him $6.6 million this year, and is a potential unrestricted free agent. If the Avs sign Stastny to a new contract, that means Duchene and MacKinnon probably play fewer minutes and maybe see some of their growth stunted. If Stastny re-signs, he knows he probably is destined for fewer minutes to accommodate the younger players, and his growth is stunted as well.