Paul Stastny stepped into a key role right away for the Winnipeg Jets and was an important contributor at the end of the season during the lengthy playoff run. Today’s Pilot’s Logbook will take a look at the player who made the biggest news when acquired at the NHL trade deadline.
#25 – CENTRE
6’0″ / 193 lbs / Age: 32
Current Contract Status: UFA
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
It was a trade that sent shock-waves through the rest of the NHL. Paul Stastny was not supposed to be dealt at the deadline as he had a no-trade clause and was seemingly happy playing in St. Louis where he had been for a number of years. Not only did this trade come out of nowhere, but it proved to the entire league that the Jets were serious about winning.
Winnipeg just went big: a first, a 4th, and Erik Foley for Paul Stastny. 3 magic beans (including one good prospect) for one playoff rental – the Jets are all-in.
— Murat (@WPGMurat) February 26, 2018
Stastny arrived after the trade and was thrown in the lineup immediately between Ehlers and Laine. The thought was that Stastny, being a great playmaker, was the perfect centre to transition the puck from Ehlers who likes to carry the puck, to Laine who likes to shoot it. Stastny proved why he was sought by the Jets in his first game in Winnipeg by scoring a goal and adding an assist. He followed that up by tallying three goals and seven assists in his first nine games.
Stastny cooled off after that torrid pace and was held without a point in seven of his last ten games to end the season. There was not much to worry about though as Stastny was fitting in very well between Ehlers and Laine. In addition to playing important minutes 5 on 5, Stastny was immediately added to the first power play unit as a set up man in the short corner. This was the perfect spot for Stastny because of his excellent vision and passing ability. Wheeler could work the puck down to Stastny to try and create different lanes and it gave the Jets an entire new dimension on the man advantage.
Stastny was brought in specifically for the playoff run and he proved why the Jets were so excited to acquire him at the deadline. Stastny is no stranger to playoff hockey as he has played in the playoffs every year since 2013-14 including a run to the conference finals with St. Louis in 2015-16.
In the first round against Minnesota, Stastny had one goal and three assists and was playing quite well. This strong play continued in the second round where Stastny shone against the Nashville Predators.
Stastny played his best hockey of the season in the crazy second round series against the Predators. He was dangerous on the attack and recorded a point in six out of the seven games (nobody scored in game six as the Jets were shut-out 4-0). This offensive outburst was highlighted with a masterful game seven performance where Stastny recorded two goals and an assist including a nifty goal from a wrap-around that chased Rinne from the game. This fantastic series by Stastny prompted reactions from around the hockey world about how well Stastny was performing as a rental player.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) May 7, 2018
Stastny was at his best in the second round but struggled to produce against the Golden Knights . To be fair, none of the Jets were performing well against Vegas as Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show. Overall, Stastny finished the playoffs with 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points in 17 games which was fourth among the Jets lineup. Most importantly, Stastny finished with three game winning goals, while no other Jets player had more than one. This clutch goal scoring solidified Stastny’s status as the best rental player picked up at the 2018 trade deadline as the Jets most likely wouldn’t have made it to the conference finals without him.
When Stastny was first brought in to the Jets organization, there was optimism that Stastny might re-sign in Winnipeg. This optimism slowly faded as fans started looking down the depth chart and seeing how many others needed to be signed this off-season. With Hellebuyck, Trouba, Lowry, and Morrissey all due for big raises (not to mention Laine who is due next season), there will be very little room for Stastny to re-sign.
If he isn’t coming back to Winnipeg, where will Stastny end up? That’s the million dollar question, although in this case it will be a$5-6 million dollar question over multiple years. Stastny will most likely try to maximize his term for another contract because he is already 32 years old and nothing is guaranteed when players hit their mid-30’s. Stastny will do his best to get a four year deal and will most likely push to get a fifth year added on.
As for the value of the contract, it will definitely be less than his previous deal of seven million, but it could still be in the $5.5-6 million range. Due to the large value and term of the deal, Stastny will most likely not play again for the Winnipeg Jets. If this is the case, he definitely made the most out of his opportunity after taking a risk, waiving his no-trade clause, and joining a team that made a great run for the Stanley Cup.