Paul Stastny Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Star Center

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Paul Stastny Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Star Center
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Updates from Tuesday, July 1

Stastny has signed with the St. Louis Blues, according to the team's official Twitter feed:

Original Text

Free agency in the NHL is set to begin on Tuesday, and the rumors are already starting to swirl around Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny.

The talented 28-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent after finishing up a five-year deal worth $33 million, according to Spotrac.com. Now, as Stastny enters the prime of his career, he'll likely be trying to get as big a deal as possible. Still, after spending his entire career up to this point in Colorado, Avalanche fans are likely hoping that Stastny stays.

According to Adrian Dater from The Denver Post, Stastny's agent met with executive Joe Sakic, but Dater wouldn't mention if it meant anything:

The sides are still talking and will continue to talk into the weekend. I’m not going to make any predictions ON how this ends up. To me, it’s a fluid situation that probably not even the people in the actual room doing the talking know how it will end right now.

James O'Brien of Pro Hockey Talk passed along a report from Pierre LeBrun of of TSN about the interest in Stastny league-wide:

Paul Stastny takes the cake, at least so far. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the potentially soon-to-be-ex Colorado Avalanche forward is drawing interest from a whopping 15 teams.

LeBrun mentions that the 28-year-old won’t take less than the $6.6 million cap hit that’s about to expire. It’s unclear how many of those 15 suitors are willing to ante up that much dough, but one could assume that at least a few teams would be willing to meet those demands (if not blow them away).

LeBrun later reported more on Stastny's suitors:

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the St. Louis Blues have made the list:

Paul Stastny, the Colorado Avalanche free-agent-to-be center, has attracted interest from as many as 15 teams, including the Blues.

On the eve of free agency, which begins at 11 a.m. (St. Louis time) Tuesday, Stastny spent Monday trimming down his possible destinations, and the Post-Dispatch has learned from a league source that the Blues will remain on the short list.

Despite spending the last eight seasons with the Avalanche, there are a few factors that could keep him from re-signing with the team. One is that the salary cap is officially set at $69 million, according to ESPN.com's Katie Strang. That's lower than many projected it would be for next season, which could make it difficult for teams to afford key players.

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A lower-than-expected salary cap could make things harder for the Avalanche to re-sign Stastny, especially if he's asking for a larger deal. The Avalanche already have a young phenom at center in Nathan MacKinnon, and it would be very tough for Colorado to spend big bucks on a second-line center.

 

Because of that, there's a good chance Stastny lands elsewhere, as there are apparently more than a few teams interested in him. He's coming off another solid season with 25 goals and 35 assists, giving him at least 50 points for the fourth straight season, not including the lockout-shortened 2012-13 year.

Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun noted that "upwards of 15 teams" are interested in acquiring Stastny, while ESPN's Pierre LeBrun tweeted that the St. Louis Blues are one of multiple teams that have already reached out to the 28-year-old's camp.

As free agency nears, a lot of teams will apparently be in the running. It's not surprising considering his age and talent level, as he could be a significant contributor to numerous rosters. 

For Stastny, he's entering what could be one of the final lucrative contracts of his career, so there's a good chance someone besides the Avalanche will be willing to spend big money on him.

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