Paul Stastny’s First Return to Colorado


The Colorado Avalanche host the St. Louis Blues for the first time this season. When they do so, it marks the first time center Paul Stastny will skate in Pepsi Center not wearing a Colorado Avalanche jersey. It also marks the first time he faces his former teammates since accepting the Blues’ offer in free agency. When the Avs faced the Blues in St. Louis, Stastny was out with a shoulder injury.


Stastny vs Iginla

Though the Avalanche didn’t trade Stastny for Iginla — both were free agency moves — the Avs chose not to sign Stastny but did sign Iginla. So, Iginla did basically replace Stastny.

Over the course of a career, Iginla is the far superior player. He’s had 12 season in which he’s scored 30+ goals, with four of those years being 40+ goal years and two of them being 50-goal years. He captained his team for almost a decade, and he’s essentially assured a Hall of Fame induction.

Stastny, on the other hand, has never gotten even 30 goals in a year. (His closest was 28 his rookie year.) He served as an alternate captain in Colorado for a number of years. No one mentions Hall of Fame when they say his name.

As has been well-documented, Iginla has had a slow start to his season. He has seven goals and 11 assists in 29 games, which puts him at .62 points per game. Stastny has seven goals and five assists in 21 games, putting him at .57 points per game. So, they’ve both had slow starts — Stastny’s has just been slower.

Former Teammates

Sports lore has players performing with an extra spark when facing their former teams. While the Avs didn’t trade Stastny, they pretty much made it clear that the future of their franchise consisted of centers Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon over Stastny.

No telling if Stastny will have extra step in his game — he hasn’t talked about the situation yet.

Roy’s Words

“If and if, my aunt will be my uncle.” – Patrick Roy

Head coach Patrick Roy does not have a reputation for disrespecting his players. Quite the opposite — he’s gone on record as stating he’ll live and die by his players.

Paul Stastny is no longer one of his players, though, and that’s clear in the way Roy talks about him. Not that coach Roy is disrespectful — just dismissive. When asked if he’s been following Stastny’s progress this season, he stated, “Not at all — I have enough with our team.”

A lot of pundits have pointed out that the loss of Stastny had a bigger impact on the Avalanche than anyone anticipated. Roy disagrees completely:

"“I don’t think so. Obviously he had some experience as a center in the league, for Nate to replace him — he’s only 19 years old. But for our part, we just felt Nate was the future of our team.”"

Reporters then tried to get Roy to admit that Stastny’s influence is missed in the locker room. Coach Roy pointed out that last season the Avs had Corey Sarich and J.S. Giguere in addition to Stastny. He specifically mentioned that this season they have plenty of leadership with Iginla, Daniel Briere and Brad Stuart.

The most obvious dismissal came when Roy was asked about how well last season went with Stastny playing compared to this season:

"“Yeah, you could say, ‘What about two years ago?’ I’m not looking at it that way. This is the way the game is. The Avalanche with Pauley did not make the playoffs very often — I think one time in five years.”"

However, coach Roy wasn’t mud slinging. He stated he didn’t want to try and make Stastny look any better or worse than he really was. Essentially, the focus is on this year’s team and their progress.

Keys to the Game

Keep the Puck Rolling

Colorado’s big guns had a great game against the Winnipeg Jets in the Pepsi Center the other night. Top-six forwards Matt Duchene, Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla, Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog all collected points in the game, and Nathan MacKinnon got the game-winner in the shootout. In short, they all produced.

The Avalanche hope the Winnipeg game gives the top-six the confidence or kick in the pants necessary to keep scoring.

Goalie Power

Remember when we had no idea who Calvin Pickard was? Now, he’s been the Avalanche’s goalie all year. He hasn’t started as many games as either Semyon Varlamov or Reto Berra, but he’s played a lot of minutes. And he’s got an excellent .926 save percentage.

He’ll need to keep it up because he’s going to keep facing a lot of shots. On average, Colorado allows 33.8 shots against their goalie per game — only the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres allow more. That’s not surprising on Colorado’s side. Not only is it typical of their high-octane offense, but when the offense is struggling, the defensemen pinch in more. Defense tends to go by the wayside.

The St. Louis Blues, on the other hand, are the direct opposite — they allow the third fewest shots per game.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not


Games are all about Calvin Pickard these days. He earned his first NHL star of the game in the Winnipeg match.

Iginla is also on a bit of a streak. He had the lone goals against the Calgary Flames last week, and he scored one of the third-period goals against the Jets.


Here’s to hoping Paul Stastny isn’t hot. Unfortunately, in recent games, he has been. Hopefully he’s no longer used to the altitude and goes oh-so-cold.

The game has an inexplicably late start, 8:00 pm MST.