Avs' Stastny goes from trade bait to essential

  • Article by: MICHAEL KELLY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2014 - 12:19 AM

Rumors swirled around the Avs’ Paul Stastny at the trade deadline, but keeping him led to Game 1 heroics.

Avalanche center Paul Stastny scored Game 1’s winning goal Thursday against the Wild. His earlier goal tied the score late in regulation.

Photo: Jack Dempsey • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– As the NHL trading deadline neared six weeks ago, Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny was getting anxious.

There were rumors the team was looking to move him, but he wanted to stay. So on March 5, with the 3 p.m. Eastern time deadline approaching and the team in Detroit, Stastny attended mass on Ash Wednesday and then watched “American Hustle” in his hotel room while he checked his phone for messages.

When the deadline passed and he was still a member of the Avalanche, he was relieved.

“To me it was kind of a sign of confidence that they want me and I’m an important piece,” Stastny said. “For a couple of days you think about it; it’s hard not to. We have such a good group of guys. They see that.”

Everyone saw the benefit of keeping Stastny in Thursday’s 5-4 victory over the Wild in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Stastny came through with a tying goal with 13.4 seconds left in regulation and then won it 7:27 into overtime.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stastny is the first player in Stanley Cup playoffs history to score a tying goal in the final 15 seconds of regulation and then win the game in overtime.

It turned out not making a trade was the smart move, but coach Patrick Roy said the team never really considered dealing him.

“Honestly, it was not even close for us to move Paulie,” Roy said. “We said all along we didn’t want rental players.”

Speculation that Stastny was on the market stemmed from the fact that his five-year, $33 million contract was up after this season and he would be too expensive to keep at that price. However, Stastny said before the trade deadline he would be willing to give Colorado a hometown discount.

It showed Roy that Stastny wanted to remain part of the organization.

“We believe Paul wants to stay as an Avalanche next year and we think there’s a good chance he can sign with us,” Roy said. “How it happens, that will be up to [executive vice president] Joe [Sakic] and [Matt Keator, Stastny’s] agent to discuss. I think Paul has the Avs in his heart, he loves to be in this town and he loves these fans.”

The stable of young centers on the roster made him expendable at trade deadline time, possibly for help on the blue line. But Colorado’s defensive corps improved over the course of the season, especially the development of Tyson Barrie, Nick Holden and Nate Guenin.

The clog at center was solved when Ryan O’Reilly and rookie Nathan MacKinnon moved seamlessly to wing, giving the Avalanche several strong scoring lines.

Nearly all the scorers were on the ice when Stastny tied Thursday’s game, although they weren’t sure the puck went in at first.

“I double-clutched at first,” defenseman Erik Johnson said. “I was celebrating, but then I didn’t want to but I didn’t know where the puck was. I peered over to the net and saw it stuck to the top of the net. Pure excitement.”

Keeping Stastny made more sense when centers Matt Duchene (left knee) and John Mitchell (head) were injured in the final two weeks of the regular season. Roy had no update on either player Friday, adding that “it’s going well for them, but they’re not close to playing.”

For now, Stastny isn’t thinking about his future. The pressure and grind of the playoffs takes up his energy.

“I’m here to win,” he said. “I don’t care about that [contract] stuff, it’s down the road. It’s all about this team.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Portland 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 6:30 PM
New Jersey
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Colgate
Northeastern 6:00 PM
Drexel
Wake Forest 6:00 PM
Florida State
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Fordham
Delaware 6:00 PM
James Madison
South Carolina 6:00 PM
LSU
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Marquette
Binghamton 6:00 PM
UMBC
American Univ 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Penn State
Duquesne 6:00 PM
Richmond
SMU 6:00 PM
South Florida
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hofstra 6:00 PM
William & Mary
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Longwood
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Akron 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Memphis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
East Carolina 6:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
Murray State 6:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Kent State 6:00 PM
Central Michigan
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Eastern Michigan 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Indiana 6:00 PM
Michigan State
Colgate 6:00 PM
Lafayette
Fordham 6:00 PM
Davidson
Duquesne 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
George Mason 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Detroit 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close