Colorado Avalanche 30 Under 30: Gone Players

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Paul Stastny

Position: Center

Age: 30 (age 19-28 with Colorado)

Avalanche Acquisition:

Left Avalanche: Draft, second round, 44th overall in 2005

Years as an Avalanche: 8

Under-30 Colorado Stats: 538 games played, 160 goals, 298 assists

While Matt Duchene is the undeniable heart of the Colorado Avalanche, center Paul Stastny was the soul.

He played two years with the local Denver University Pioneers. Drafted in 2005, he started playing during the 2006 season. That means he got to play with some of the Avalanche greats in the twilight of their careers. Yet he came into his own in the modern era, so he served as a bridge between the two times. His father, Peter Stastny, played for the Quebec Nordiques, though he’d retired by the time the franchise moved to Colorado.

As his numbers show, Stastny had excellent seasons playing for the Colorado Avalanche. He was the runner up for the Calder Trophy his rookie year after scoring 78 points (28 goals, 50 assists), losing out to Evgeni Malkin. When he played, he had strong showings for the Avs, but he ever had a problem staying healthy.

Unlike Ryan O’Reilly, Paul Stastny also had a clear leadership role. He served as the alternate captain for many years. Indeed, he was the obvious mentor not only for very-young captain Gabriel Landeskog, but also Duchene and O’Reilly himself. He and Duchene were good friends, and they even developed their famous Bang-Bang dance:

Unfortunately, Paul Stastny was another one who saw the writing on the wall both when it came to salary structure and center positioning. As he neared unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2013-14 season, he could see that Duchene and O’Reilly were becoming solid centers, and that rookie Nathan MacKinnon was going to dazzle. That left Stastny with, at best, the third centerman position.

He wanted a big payout — something north of $6 million — and he wasn’t going to get that as long as the team’s best player, Duchene, was only making $6 million. So, though the Avalanche tried to offer him a contract extension, Stastny decided to go into free agency and sign for big money with the St. Louis Blues.

The circumstances of his leaving weren’t at all contentious, as they had been with O’Reilly. However, it still left a bad taste in many Avs fans mouths. That said, Stastny was named to the 20th Anniversary team, showing his place in Avalanche history is important.

Next: Liles