NHL Trade Speculation: Should the Avalanche Move Paul Stastny?

Kevin Goff@@BrgBrigadeKevinContributor IJuly 7, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 08:  Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates a goal against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on March 8, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Now that the largest chips of the free-agent pool have fallen over in Minnesota, teams are working to snap up the remaining free agents and also thinking about potential trades to upgrade their teams.

It shouldn't be surprising, then, for Colorado Avalanche fans to hear that Paul Stastny's name is being tossed around the Internet as a piece that the Avalanche should trade.

Adrian Dater, beat writer for the Avalanche with the Denver Post, has brought up Stastny's name not once, but twice in the past six days.

This time, however, the names being mentioned in return for Stastny are far more intriguing that they have ever been.

Both time, Dater suggests that the Avalanche should use Paul Stastny in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks to bring Bobby Ryan to Denver. Ryan has certainly made it clear that he would like to be dealt from Anaheim, and the Avalanche could use his elite combination of power and skill on the wing.

Dater tossed around Stastny's name in exchange for Rick Nash but, as Dater points out, Columbus "wants the moon" for Nash and it would cost the Avalanche far more than just Paul Stastny to bring him here.

One of the more intriguing options brought up today on Twitter suggests that the Buffalo Sabres are talking with the Avalanche on a Paul Stastny-Thomas Vanek deal.

To be fair, the source of this particular rumor is a bit sketchy; but the option is intriguing nonetheless.

Weighing each of these options, the Avalanche actually could have some serious thinking to do, with the exception of trading for Rick Nash.

Paul Stastny has been a valuable member of the Avalanche his entire career, but draws ire from the fanbase due to his large cap hit.

That same cap hit has been a reason that the Avalanche haven't traded Stastny, as the Avalanche have been near the salary cap floor the past couple of seasons.

If the Avalanche were to trade Stastny ($6.6 million cap hit) for either Ryan ($5.1 million cap hit) or Vanek ($7.14 million), the numbers come together pretty decently. (Numbers from Capgeek.com)

Vanek would actually give the Avalanche a larger cap hit to deal with, whereas Ryan drops it down by just a little more than $1 million. So from a monetary standpoint, both of these trades are possible.

Personnel-wise, I don't know if any of these deals could be done one-for-one.

At the moment the Avalanche have three solid centers in Stastny, Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly. Trading Stastny could upset the balance a bit and throw the lines into a state of constant shuffling to try to find chemistry.

In this sense, the Avalanche would probably want to package a deal that could gain them not only Ryan/Vanek, but also another capable center for their third or fourth line.

Players possible from Anaheim could be Andrew Cogliano or Peter Holland. Players possible from Buffalo could be Cody McCormick or Cody Hodgson.

The Avalanche would likely pair Stastny with a defender like Ryan O'Byrne, possibly a prospect like Tyson Barrie, and maybe even a draft pick as high as a second-rounder in order to pull off a larger trade.

If the Avalanche are going to make a move, my gut tells me that it would be for Bobby Ryan. Vanek is a great player, but the fit with Ryan just seems to feel better.

The other option is that the Avalanche might stand pat, which is what I think will happen in the end. All of the lines work too well with Stastny in the lineup.

Without Stastny it is definitely possible that things could work, but there certainly is a great deal less clarity.

Stastny between David Jones and Jamie McGinn worked so well for the Avalanche down the stretch last season. Why not let that line have more time together to see what potential it could bring out?

If Stastny goes, who moves to the top? O'Reilly or Duchene? Then who plays on the side of each of these guys?

Now the Avalanche have just two solid centers, who steps in to play third line or fourth line? John Mitchell gets one of those, but who gets the other?

Joey Hishon? No idea if he'll even be ready for contact by camp. Marc Olver? He's terrible on faceoffs. Mike Connolly, Michael Sgarbossa? Are either of them even NHL-ready?

There are just so many question marks that would come about if Stastny were to be traded. But for a guy like Bobby Ryan, it might actually be worth seeing what happens.


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