Is NOW the Time For Stastny?
Difficult yes. Impossible no.
What we can tell you – for certain – is that Stastny would provide Leafs an immeasurable boost up the middle. His grandiose performance for the United States at the World Hockey Championships last May proved he still has a wonderful feel for the puck – as a play-maker and scorer. His valuation in the NHL has undoubtedly been skewed by toiling for a dismal Colorado club. Additionally, Avs appear to be well-established at center with Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly. Even with nearly $11 million in cap space, it’s difficult to imagine Joe Sakic forking over a king’s ransom to retain Stastny – still only 27.
Should Nonis have to trade one of Kadri or Bozak (a very good bet), Leafs would still be an improved lot with Stastny in the No. 1 hole. In fact, Toronto would boast as much talent, depth and versatility up the middle as any team in the NHL. So, the question for Nonis – in my view – really isn’t “Would you make a trade that featured Gardiner for Stastny?” but rather “How could you get it done under the cap?” That’s where the Claude Loiselle cranium enters the picture. Mr. Cap Management himself would need to work diligently with Nonis to find a solution.
I certainly don’t have one right now, and neither may the Leafs. It’s also clear that no-such deal has to be made tonight, simply because Colorado is at the Air Canada Centre. Without question, however, it is a concept worth exploring – for both teams.