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Revisiting the Winnipeg Jets Paul Stastny trade 6 years later

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Photo credit:© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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The Stanley Cup Finals are underway and now you’re just 2 weeks away from the official beginning of the NHL off-season. The Jets hired Scott Arniel as their new head coach, a much-needed first move to kick off the off-season, but not many other Jets announcements have been made as of today. The trade and signing rumours continue to swirl as the off-season approaches, and it’s going to be an interesting off-season to watch for Jets fans. Today I wanted to revisit another trade that the Jets made, this time 6 years ago. Last time I looked at the Andrew Copp trade from 2 years ago which has aged quite nicely so far, and today I’m looking at the Jets big move at the 2018 trade deadline to acquire Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues.
February 26th, 2018 was an NHL trade deadline full of intriguing trades, including the splash the Jets made acquiring Stastny. I can’t remember if Stastny was a player who was on the “trade block” or not, but I do remember initially thinking about the positive impact he would bring to the Jets. Paul Stastny is the son of a former hockey hall-of-famer: Peter Stastny, and Paul is the type of player who excelled in his playmaking ability later in his career. Stastny retired after the 2022-23 season, and looking back at all the teams he played for, it’s tough to say which team he’ll be remembered for playing for the most in terms of his overall career.
But what was intriguing about this Paul Stastny move? Well, just like the Andrew Copp move, it involved multiple draft picks and pieces to the trade, some of which continue to play in the 2023-24 season. The Jets acquired Stastny at 50% salary retained ($3.5 million) and the Blues acquired Erik Foley (signing rights), a 2018 1st round pick (which became Rasmus Sandin) and a 2020 4th round pick (which became Jack Smith). There were various conditions to the draft picks, but when it was all said and done the Jets got their guy at the 2018 trade deadline.
Beginning with Erik Foley, who I mentioned in my 2015 NHL draft recap for the Jets, who was a 3rd round pick out of the USHL. Unfortunately, due to various injuries including concussion symptoms, Foley never made it to the NHL after signing with the Blues, and last played in 2017-18 with Providence College.
As for Rasmus Sandin, who I didn’t realize was essentially the “main” part of this trade looking back 6 years later. Of course, Sandin wasn’t actually drafted by the Blues, as they made another trade later that season with Winnipeg’s 1st round, 29th overall pick plus the 76th overall pick in 2018 to acquire the 25th overall pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the draft. That 25th overall pick ended up being Dominik Bokk, who originally was a promising prospect from Germany, but now plays in the DEL, the top German hockey league. Sandin remains a developing defence from Sweden, and after spending a few seasons with the Maple Leafs he was traded to the Washington Capitals in the 2022-23 season.
The final piece of the Stastny trade which the Blues acquired was a 4th round pick in 2020 which ended up being Jack Smith. This pick was also traded by the Blues prior to the 2020 draft, and the Montreal Canadiens selected Jack Smith 102th overall. Smith is currently playing at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, but doesn’t appear to be headed towards the pros.
Overall, looking at the trade this way, you could say the Jets made out pretty well for acquiring Stastny, but at the time it was still a pretty high cost to pay for a potential rental. The most important question (which now has an answer) is how did Stastny fair in his time with the Jets? Was the trade worth it after all? Stastny would get 13 points in 19 regular season games with the Jets in 2017-18, before being a very solid contributor in the Jets playoff run that season, putting up 15 points in 17 games. Stastny hit the free agent market that year and he went to the Vegas Golden Knights for 2 seasons.
Stastny did return to the Jets in 2020-21, and spent 2 of his final 3 seasons in the NHL in Winnipeg. Stastny remained fairly productive in his 2 full seasons with the Jets, putting up 29 points in 56 games followed by 45 points in 71 games. Stastny may have not reached the scoring totals he achieved early in his career with the Colorado Avalanche, but he was still valuable to the Jets. His leadership and overall veteran IQ on the ice allowed him to remain a valuable member of the Jets.
Overall, it was unfortunate to see Stastny leave the Jets for the Golden Knights in free agency, but it was great to see him return 2 seasons later to finish up the later part of his career in Winnipeg. Looking back at this trade now, it was a worthwhile move for the Jets to make which ended up acquiring them a good fit for the organization. Although the full “trade tree” is now complete, all that’s left is to see how Rasmus Sandin continues to develop as a member of the Washington Capitals. Stastny will be remembered when looking back in Jets history, despite only playing with them for a few years, as a player who gave it his all and was a valued teammate and overall contributor to the organization. What did you think of this trade then and what do you think about this trade looking back 6 years later?

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