On Wednesday, I looked at the impact of drafting Nathan MacKinnon and the logjam it creates amongst the top six forwards for the Colorado Avalanche.
MacKinnon will be their top center at some point. Matt Duchene isn’t going anywhere. The prime targets to be moved are going to be Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny. O’Reilly seemed like the logical choice due to the fact that his contract has to piss off management in every conceivable way.
Yet due to a myriad of factors, including restrictions in trading O’Reilly right now, Stastny is going to be the odd man out if one is out at all. Unless Stastny wants to go for the hometown discount of over 50%. Sounds likely, right?
Just where might he end up? When I started looking at this, there were six teams who might not only be interested but might be a good fit for the 27-year-old center. Since then, one of those teams (Montreal) signed Danny Briere, so they’re probably out. We’ll start with the least likely and build up to the favorites.
Let’s not have delusions of getting Malcolm Subban or Dougie Hamilton here. They might be willing to part with an NHL-ready defender but you’re not going to get a stud here like Colorado would want. The Bruins are, however, deep on defensive prospects so there could be hope for a deal.
But the trade of Tyler Seguin does create a spot at center that someone like Stastny, a potentially big-time point-producer, could fill. And maybe Stastny is whatever level of mature Peter Chiarelli is looking for.
What They Have To Offer: The Bruins are probably going to have to part with a roster player just to make this work considering they still have to re-sign Tuukka Rask. And based on the rumors (8 years/$58M), it’s gonna be costly.
Someone ancillary like Daniel Paille could be thrown in to make the financials work if the Avalanche wanted to go after a prospect like Matt Bartkowski or Joe Morrow. Those guys are as close to NHL-ready as it’s going to get without going after someone in the top six. The only other guys who could be available are either Johnny Boychuk (financial reasons) or Dennis Seidenberg (contract expires after this year).
The Bruins may simply not have the room to make the deal if the Avs don’t want Boychuk or Seidenberg back but they have the prospects to make something happen.
New York Rangers
Any time there is a big-time forward available, the Rangers come up in conversation. It’s the nature of the beast these days; sort of like the Maple Leafs of America. Leaf Nation has been convinced that every relevant free agent is a possibility. The same applies for the blueshirts.
The need for offense was probably exacerbated by the career-death of Brad Richards, who ceased to be a player last year and merely became an albatross. Congrats, Brad. That didn’t take nearly as long as we all thought.
What They Have To Offer: Turns out the Rangers are quite deep on the defensive end of things. In addition to their NHL-ready guys, they have Dylan McIlrath and Brady Skjei in the system as well but the real key here is the young defensemen on the roster: Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh, John Moore.
Realistically, it would probably cost the Rangers either Del Zotto or Moore and a pick or middle-tier prospect. If it’s Del Zotto, the Avalanche have a top four defenseman that can provide an immediate impact and be a building block of their defense for the future. With Moore, he’ll likely get the opportunity but might not make that same impact right away.
Had the Rangers bought out Richards, I would say that this is a slam dunk but with him around, it feels less likely.
Los Angeles Kings
Speaking of teams who always seem to be in the mix when a premier forward becomes available, the Kings are always in search of goals because, outside of Jeff Carter, no one else seems to really enjoy doing it all that much.
Not to mention the fact that the Kings have been in “win now” mode the last few years; looking for the guy that will push them over the top. Could someone like Stastny get the most of Justin Williams, Mike Richards, or Dustin Brown? There would be a glut at the top in terms of centers (Richards/Kopitar/Stastny) so one of them would have to slide to wing but it’s easier for a center to slide to wing than a winger sliding to center.
What They Have To Offer: The Kings are ridiculously deep on defense both in the NHL and in terms of prospects in the system. They also have a bit of room to play with since Dustin Penner and his pancakes are coming off the books.
The ideal package for the Avalanche could be an NHL-ready defenseman like Alec Martinez (who’s an RFA right now and could be subject to move), a defensive prospect along the lines of Jake Muzzin, and another prospect like Tanner Pearson or Linden Vey. Aiming for Tyler Toffoli is probably a bit too high for the Avalanche but getting that haul back for Paul Stastny, who likely HAS to go anyways, would be a coup.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets have been looking to make a splash offensively this off-season and haven’t managed to find anything. Netting a guy like Stastny, a talented playmaker, to play alongside Marian Gaborik could be just what the doctor ordered for the young, upstart team.
They have the assets, the cap space, and the desire to make it happen. They were oh-so-close to the playoffs last year and with Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky coming back, they desperately want to build on the momentum from the second half of last year and get into the playoffs.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen is smart; he won’t overpay (at least not drastically) to get someone like Stastny but he knows the kind of impact Stastny could have playing with Gaborik. Not only that but he would take pressure off of Artem Anisimov and Ryan Johansen, allowing them to play their games without having to face the best of the opposition.
What They Have To Offer: The Jackets are deep on prospects. Such is the life when you’re not very good for a very long time.
Stastny will definitely cost the Jackets a roster defenseman. Probably someone like Tim Erixon. It’ll probably cost them another prospect or two as well. David Savard and Boone Jenner or TJ Tynan?
There is definitely a plethora of prospects to work with and the Jackets have the desire to get over the hump. Stastny to the Buckeye State could have a better shot than you think.
The Predators aren’t likely to be Cup contenders like they were just a few short years ago. Which is odd because they’re basically the same team they were then: heavy on defense, Pekka Rinne patrolling the crease, and very little to speak of offensively.
They didn’t exactly alleviate those issues at the NHL Draft, either, but when a guy like Seth Jones falls to you at fourth overall, you take him and laugh your way to the bank anyways.
That said, the Preds have a nice chunk of cap space, more defensive prospects than you can shake a stick at, and a glaring need for offensive firepower. Hmm, sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? I think we have our leader in the Paul Stastny sweepstakes.
What They Have To Offer: Like I said – defense, defense, defense and the Avalanche need as much help as they can get on the back-end. Assuming Seth Jones makes the jump to the NHL this year and the team re-signs Jonathan Blum as well as Hal Gill, the Predators defense looks like this: Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein, Gill, Blum, and Ryan Ellis. Cripes, that’s a buncha good defensemen.
The price is likely to be either Ellis or Blum, another prospect like Mattias Ekholm or Anthony Bitetto, and perhaps a pick or a middle-tier prospect. The Avalanche would have to be thrilled to walk away with one of the first two plus Ekholm; it could really bolster their blueline for not only the future but this season as well.Nashville gets a 27-year-old number one center. Everybody wins.
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