With Nazem Kadri now off the market, Paul Stastny is the top center of note that’s still available. Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe reports that while a reunion with the Jets hasn’t been ruled out yet, it’s unlikely he returns to Winnipeg next season. The 36-year-old is coming off a bit of a bounce-back year in 2021-22 where he scored 21 goals along with recording 24 assists in 71 games while winning over 56% of his faceoffs. The Jets certainly have the cap space to bring him back but Wiebe believes he’ll ultimately take less than his market value with an eye on going to a contender in the hopes of competing for a Stanley Cup title. Speculatively, he fits as a short-term replacement for Kadri in Colorado, a team where Stastny spent the first eight years of his career so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him linked to them over the coming days.
More from the Central:
- Still with the Jets, prospect Brad Lambert’s absence from Friday’s World Junior semifinal against Sweden raised some eyebrows. Head coach Antti Pennanen confirmed to reporters including Scott Wheeler of The Athletic (Twitter link) postgame that the 18-year-old first-rounder isn’t injured but was rather a healthy scratch. Lambert, the 31st pick last month, has been a bit of a polarizing prospect over the last year and has somewhat surprisingly had a limited role in this tournament so far, averaging only 12:24 per game.
- After undergoing hip surgery back in March, goaltender Anton Khudobin is expected to be ready to participate in training camp, Mike Heika notes on the Stars’ team website. Last year was a tough one for the 36-year-old as he posted a 3.63 GAA and a .879 SV% in nine appearances with Dallas, eventually resulting in him clearing waivers. He has one year left on his contract at $3.33MM and while they would prefer to move that deal out, he’ll also serve as insurance with the team still needing to re-sign RFA goaltender Jake Oettinger.