Paul Stastny to Blues: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche in action against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

One of the top NHL free agents available is now off the board as Paul Stastny reached a deal with the St. Louis Blues on a four-year deal.

The Blues announced the signing on Tuesday:

Lance Hornby of the Ottawa Sun has financial details:

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 also spoke about the free agency process and the decision to sign with the Blues (via Rutherford and the Blues:

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:

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.

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.