Despite being shipped off at the trade deadline after four years with St. Louis, veteran center Paul Stastny said he would be open to returning to the St. Louis Blues during a radio interview on 590 The Fan in St. Louis.
Known to have loved his time in St. Louis, the 32-year-old supposedly thought long and hard before agreeing to waive his no-trade clause to go to the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets. With the Blues struggling and unlikely to reach the playoffs, the team sent Stastny to the Jets for a 2018 first-round pick (the 29th overall pick), collegiate prospect Erik Foley, and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020.
“Absolutely,” Stastny told Hockey Sense host Andy Strickland during the interview. “I don’t think I’ve closed the door on anything. I know it’s a business, getting older, you see it. I always keep everything open because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Stastny put up solid numbers with the Blues, posting 12 goals and 40 points in 63 games for the Blues before being dealt on Feb. 26. However, once with the Jets, he added another 13 points to his totals in 19 regular season games playing alongside Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. Then in the playoffs, he took off, tallying six goals and 15 points in 17 games, leading the team to the Western Conference Finals.
While he enjoyed his time in Winnipeg and said it was worth it, Stastny also admitted it wasn’t easy to leave St. Louis.
“Trades are tough,” Stastny told Strickland. “I think when you’re so emotionally invested in a team and you think your an important part or your battling with the guys all year, you don’t expect that.”
While Winnipeg wouldn’t mind bringing Stastny back on a short-term deal, the Jets are going to be dealing with plenty of cap issues now they have to re-sign goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, defenseman Jacob Trouba and a number of other restricted free agents. St. Louis, however, who remains in need of help down the middle, could be a possible destination as well.
Of course with the need of centers throughout the league and Stastny likely being the second-best unrestricted free agent on the market (behind John Tavares), the veteran has quite a bit of leverage to score another big contract. While the Jets have indicated they would like to bring him back on a one or two-year deal to compete for a Stanley Cup, other teams would likely offer more years and more money. Would the Blues want to pay a big price to bring Stastny back? He just completed a four-year, $28MM deal. Desperate teams like the Montreal Canadiens might be willing to go quite high as they have the need and enough cap space to make it happen.