The Blues announced the signing on Tuesday:
Lance Hornby of the Ottawa Sun has financial details:
Paul Stastny to St. Louis, four years at $7 million, a signing that was expected.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) July 1, 2014
Following the signing, Stastny spoke to the media about his move to St. Louis (via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Blues):
Stastny on coming home: "I think it's more of media standpoint. But I wanted to go somewhere I was comfortable and know lay of the land."— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) July 1, 2014
Stastny: "To me, I always knew just growing up, St. Louis, what kind of organization it was. Guys have nothing but good things to say."— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) July 1, 2014
Stastny: "My family and my fiancee and I thought going to St. Louis would be the best hockey decision for me." #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) July 1, 2014
Stastny also spoke about the free agency process and the decision to sign with the Blues (via Rutherford and the Blues:
Stastny: "It's almost like you're a college recruit.... You want to play some place your wanted and the Blues really showed that" #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) July 1, 2014
Stastny: "I look at St. Louis and their window to win a Cup is now and for the next seven or eight years. I'm excited." #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) July 1, 2014
Stastny is an interesting case. He averaged nearly a point per game during his first four seasons in the NHL, which is when most players are just getting acclimated to the competition level. Then, when most players typically hit their prime, his numbers actually fell off.
The 28-year-old center hasn't topped 60 points since the 2009-10 season. Yet, given the lack of top offensive centers around the league, he was still a valued commodity. A strong playoff run for Colorado with 10 points in seven games also helped his cause.
Since the Avalanche are one of the few teams with depth up the middle, they had more flexibility to move forward without him than most teams would have. They weren't in a position where they had to overpay just to make sure he didn't get away.
Stastny admitted to Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post during the playoff run that he sometimes thought about it being the last time he put on an Avalanche jersey:
You don't know. I don't know, either. Sometimes you think about it a little bit. […]
This year, for me, was a fresh start. It was a new team, with new coaches, new management. It was almost like a tryout. And you wanted to see how it went.
He went on to talk about wanting to stay in Colorado to help push the team toward a Stanley Cup, but obviously the sides weren't able to reach an agreement before he hit the open market.
Although he was always going to command plenty of attention, his playoff performance really helped solidify him as perhaps the top player available. Along with the 10 points, he also pulled off a unique feat, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN Stats & Info:
Paul Stastny is 1st person in NHL playoff history to score game-tying goal in last 15 sec of reg and then game-winner in OT. (@EliasSports)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 18, 2014
Now that he has landed with a new team, the only question mark is what version of Stastny fans will see: the one who was on the verge of superstardom a handful of years ago, or the player that's been good but not great for Colorado in recent years.
Is Stastny worth the investment?
The deal doesn't have much bust potential because Stastny has scored at least 20 goals in a each of his full seasons. That said, for it to truly pay off he must get back to those previous scoring levels, which represent a true No. 1 center.
Perhaps the change of scenery will help reinvigorate his game. If so, he will provide a major boost both at even strength and on the power play. That, of course, is exactly what a team is seeking when it shells out big money on a free agent.
If nothing else, Stastny is now one of the top players to watch heading into new season to see whether he lives up to the hype.