While the St. Louis Blues aren’t expected to go very heavy into the free agent market this offseason after being burned by the acquisitions of veteran forwards Derek Roy and Brenden Morrow last year, they’ll certainly be open to bringing in a proven scorer if the opportunity arises. It appears they’re taking the first steps in doing exactly that, as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that they’ve had contact with soon-to-be free agent Paul Stastny:
Hearing St. Louis Blues among many teams that reached out to Paul Stastny camp already…
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 25, 2014
The 28-year-old Stastny spent much of his youth in St. Louis and attended Chaminade College Prep after his father, Peter, played for the Blues from 1993 to 1995. He later went on to work as a scout for the team. Paul’s brother Yan also played for the Blues from 2006 to 2010.
Stastny has established himself as a spectacular offensive talent during his eight seasons in the NHL, scoring 160 goals while notching 298 assists. He historically has not been the best from a defensive perspective, but he had the best season of his career in that facet of the game during 2013-14, finishing with a career-best plus-minus rating of plus-9.
Stastny also had one of the better offensive years of his career this past season, scoring 25 goals with 35 assists in 71 games. If he can continue to put up that kind of production, he would have the potential to be the big scorer that the Blues have so desperately needed over the past few years.
In addition, Stastny provides a bigger, physical presence up the middle at 6-foot and 205 pounds. His size would give the Blues the type of center they typically desire, as opposed to the undersized, finesse Roy, who was moved off the center position for several stretches and really hurt the team at times with his failure to win faceoffs or provide physicality, especially with his lack of scoring.
Stastny’s agent has stated that his first choice is to sign with the Avalanche, so the Blues will have to give him some really good money to entice him to come to St. Louis. But if it comes down to paying Stastny or giving up draft picks and premium players for a trade candidate such as Jason Spezza or Ryan Kesler, it may make more sense just to pony up for the younger player who has been better in recent years.