Paul Stastny being dealt to the Jets was one of the bigger surprises of the trade deadline back in February. St. Louis was expected to add instead of selling while Winnipeg has typically shied away from making the big deadline day moves. They made the move and it’s hard to say that it didn’t work out as Stastny was quite productive, posting 13 points in 19 regular season contests and added 15 more in 17 playoff games. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and told reporters, including Postmedia’s Ken Wiebe, that he is open to re-signing:
“Every door is open. I never look that far down the road, because in the past I’ve done that. You think something is going to happen. It doesn’t.
“There is always a possibility. I have no regrets. Probably the best decision I ever made was this one. It made the game that much more fun again.”
The decision that Stastny is referencing was his choice to waive his no-trade clause to accept a move to Winnipeg. It certainly was a wise one from his perspective as he certainly has bolstered his case in free agency as it has been a while since he produced at the level he did. Between that and the fact that so many teams are in need of centers this summer, he has set himself up for a big payday.
If he wants to maximize his contract though, that may make it difficult for him to remain in Winnipeg. The team has a trio of prominent restricted free agents to re-sign in defenseman Josh Morrissey and Jacob Trouba plus goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (among several others). With that in mind, he may have to leave some money on the table if he wants to stay put. However, he realizes that he’s not going to be the top priority for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff when it comes to discussing extensions and he’s open to waiting for his turn:
“We all know there are a lot of players who need to be signed here. There’s not just one person. When you have success like this, a lot of guys need to get rewarded. And you’ve got to take care of those young guys first. Those guys really earned it. We’ll talk with (Cheveldayoff) down the road.”
If the Jets and Stastny can find common ground on a new deal, that would solidify their center position for years to come. Mark Scheifele has emerged as a legitimate top pivot while Jack Roslovic, one of their top prospects, made some strides this season while Bryan Little is a proven top-six player as well. That type of depth is hard to come by so even if they have to cut money a year from now when wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor are owed new deals, they’d at least be dealing from a position of considerable strength. As a result, it’s reasonable that talks on a new deal between Stastny and Winnipeg will be starting in the not-too-distant future.