The Vegas Golden Knights may have lost a pair of high-end forwards in James Neal and David Perron, but the team did bring in an important free agent this offseason when they signed center Paul Stastny to a three-year deal. The 32-year-old center showed off his impressive skills after he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets from St. Louis at the trade deadline. Stastny was given the role of anchoring a line with their star youngsters’ Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers and that line was a key part of the team’s deep playoff run, before being eliminated by Vegas.
Now ironically in Vegas and expected to center the team’s second line, Stastny said he spends a lot of his offseason training much differently considering that he’s entering that portion of a players’ career where a decline begins. Stastny told The Athletic’s Ryan Clark (subscription required) that he spends a lot of time focusing on off-ice things, especially his diet.
“Trying to keep up with your diet, trying to stay lean, trying to stay quick because as you get older, you might lose that step,” Stastny said. “The game’s changed from my first year where it was a lot heavier, stronger, touch and grabbing to know where it’s just not as much physical. A lot more skating and you gotta keep with that endurance as much as you can.”
- David Isaac of the Courier Post interviewed Philadelphia Flyers head coach Ron Hextall, who said in the Q&A that the team looked into upgrading their bottom-six this year in hopes of improving their penalty kill, which struggled last year, but felt they were unable to do that. The special teams’ unit played better over the final 25 games, according to Hextall, but he would still like to add a penalty killing forward, if possible. “I’m open to it, but it would probably be more of a lateral move on the market rather than a free agent,” Hextall said. “It would be a forward. We’d like to add a penalty-killing forward but to this point there’s been nothing there that’s made enough sense for us to move.”
- The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins wonders if this is the year that defenseman Oscar Klefbom puts it all together, especially now that reports are coming in that say he’s 100 percent already with just a couple of weeks before training camp. The 25-year-old had a breakout season in 2016-17 when he tallied 12 goals and 38 points, but struggled through an injury-plagued 2017-18. Now healthy, the scribe believes this is the year he takes that next step.