Paul Stastny is listening to offers.
The Colorado Avalanche alternate captain is the top centre set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and although re-signing with the Avs is a strong possibility, he will test the open market.
Avalanche executive VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic told Adrian Dater of The Denver Post he met with Stastny’s agent, Matt Keator, and talks went “good” but the player wants to “see what’s out there.”
Stastny will be one of the most sought-after free agents this summer; the only pending UFAs to register more points than Stastny in 2013-14 were Thomas Vanek and Jarome Iginla.
The two-time United States Olympian is coming off a five-year deal that paid him $6.6 million per season. Stastny could fetch a similar salary on the open market, however it’s believed the Avalanche would ask him to take a slight pay cut. Matt Duchene makes $6 million per season, Semyon Varlamov makes $5.9 million, captain Gabriel Landeskog earns $5.571, and restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly is expected to get a lucrative extension.
Stastny was fourth on the Avalanche last season with 60 points in 71 regular-season games and led the team in goals and points in their seven-game playoff series against the Minnesota Wild in April.
The 28-year-old is one of the leaders on a young Avalanche squad and a popular teammate.
“I just don’t want it to happen. I don’t want Pauly to go,” the NHL’s 2014 Calder Memorial Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon told the Post. “He was a huge part of our team. He took all the biggest faceoffs, probably got to see the other teams’ top lines all season and still had 60 points…. He’s definitely one of our top players and we need him, plain and simple. I’m young, but I realize it’s a business. You can’t play forever, and you have to be fair. He’s going to be fair to the Avalanche and the Avalanche are going to be fair to him. In my head, it’s just a matter of time before it gets done, and hopefully it can.”
According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, the Wild will show “significant interest” in Stastny, and ESPN is reporting the St. Louis Blues have already reached out to the Canadian-born American. Dater added the New York Rangers to Stastny’s list of suitors.
Keator and Stastny have told the Avalanche they will circle back to Sakic and general manager Greg Sherman to give them an opportunity to match any offer Stastny receives from another team.
Stastny has spent his entire NHL career with the Avalanche after they drafted him 44th overall in 2005. In 538 games, he has registered 160 goals, 298 assists and 264 penalty minutes.