Colorado Avalanche Could Trade to Bring Stastny Back

Jan 22, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) and St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny (26) battle for a face-off in the second period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) and St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny (26) battle for a face-off in the second period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

A Colorado Avalanche fan poses an interesting trade idea that could benefit the Avs in the long run, even if it sounds outlandish at the outset.

The Colorado Avalanche should blow  up the core or augment the core, depending on who you talk to. It feels pretty good, though, that GM Joe Sakic is going to pull the trigger on some kind of trade.

The general consensus has been that Matt Duchene is the prime target for a trade. That supposition makes sense. Sakic has seemingly had him on the trade block for the better part of two years. What’s more, he’ll fetch a high return.

However, suppose the Colorado Avalanche decide to keep Duchene. That’s where augmenting the core has to take place. The Avalanche’s top-six is really more of a top-three (Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon) with prospect potentials (Mikko Rantanen, maybe Tyson Jost this year.) At best, that’s still just a top-five.

Possibilities for that sixth top forward position are pretty limited. Colorado has been filling it with talented bottom-six players such as Matthew Nieto and Sven Andrighetto (plus, you know, Blake Comeau). However, none of those guys would be a top-six on a playoff-bound team — they couldn’t even crack the top-13 and so were put on waivers for the Avs to snap up.

It’s possible A.J. Greer or J.T. Compher will make the roster next season. And, yes, one or the other could make the top-six. But that still leaves at least two of the top-six positions with unproven NHL rookies who aren’t named Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews.

Ok, by now you’re asking what any of that has to do with the title. Well, what if the Colorado Avalanche were to trade for Paul Stastny?

Before you go nominating me as Mayor of Crazytown again (not that I mind that one), this wasn’t my idea. It originated with a former Mile High Sticking editor:

His proposition was intriguing enough that it got me thinking. After all, it seems like Duchene often gets the short end of the stick partner-wise. Yet there are two former Avalanche with whom he had great chemistry — Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny. And I’m not writing about Colorado trading for O’Reilly, not that I think the Buffalo Sabres will part with him.

What about Paul Stastny, though?

More from Mile High Sticking

Stastny is going to be overpaid ($7 million) through one more season. But look at what Stephen proposed — trading goalie Semyon Varlamov for him and a pick! When it comes to next year’s salary cap, that trade is almost a wash — Varlamov carries a $5.9 million cap hit. What’s more, Varlamov has two more years on his contract, meaning the Avalanche would free up cap space in the long run.

And. A. Pick. The Colorado Avalanche need those for their rebuild. They currently only have six this year since they traded their third rounder to the New Jersey Devils for Eric Gelinas.

So, the Colorado Avalanche could free up some cap space in the long run and maybe replace their lost pick.

But now we have to consider quality of players. Paul Stastny hasn’t exactly been producing in the three years since he left Colorado. He hasn’t cracked 50 points once — the closest being 2015-16 when he got 49 points.

On the flip side, Varlamov has been producing — sometimes wins for the Colorado Avalanche, and sometimes wins for the opponents. He’s the very definition of a streaky goal tender.

Plus, there’s the gamble of his season-ending surgery. It could have finally solved the groin muscle injuries that have been plaguing Varlamov the majority of his career. Or it could have exacerbated them, meaning Varlamov will never be the #VarlyVarly (Vezina finalist) of the 2013-14 season again.

The return for Paul Stastny could bring this, though:

I’m not saying the end goal is the return of the Bang Bang Victory Dance, though it was pretty cute. I’m saying the end goal is a partner with whom Matt Duchene finds chemistry.

Stephen Crociata had a final interesting aspect to trading for Stastny — if he had a good season up until the trade deadline, the Avs might be able to get something for him by trading him to a contender. Maybe they could even get a draft pick!

And if you’re intent on trading Matt Duchene… well, his stock is relatively low right now. He had one of his worst seasons at 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 77 games. And he’s not improving his stock at IIHF Worlds — he finally got his first goal in the seventh game, against Finland.

Joe Sakic’s ask of an NHL defenseman, a prospect and a draft pick might be more realistic after a good half-season on a line with Stastny again.

Next: Avs Could Trade Barrie to the Leafs

Do I think the Colorado Avalanche are going to trade Semyon Varlamov for Paul Stastny (and a draft pick)? No. The team wants to get younger and speedier. Stastny is 30 and, well, not known for his speed.

However, it’s interesting to think of old Stazz back in burgundy and blue again with his buddy Matt Duchene.