The Colorado Avalanche are among the best teams in the NHL right now and Paul Stastny has had little to do with it. After posting 24 points in 40 games in 2013, it was clear that Stastny’s game had fallen off quite a bit. This is a guy who scored 78 points as a rookie and played his way into a massive five-year, $33 million extension in 2009.
Since the ink dried on that contract, Stastny has seen his numbers slip in every season. He posted 79 points in the first year of the deal, then saw his total drop to 57 the following season. In 2011-12, it dropped to 53 before bottoming out completely last year.
When watching the Avalanche, the confidence they have as a team on offense is evident. Nathan MacKinnon isn’t afraid to use his speed to make plays. Ryan O’Reilly is on pace for 30 goals and is playing the best hockey of his young career right now, and it seems like you can’t watch a highlight reel at the end of the night without seeing a goal from Matt Duchene.
Gabriel Landeskog has come on strong after a slow start, and Semyon Varlamov is an early bounce-back player of the year candidate. Everyone on the team seems to have the juices flowing. Everyone on the team has responded incredibly well to whatever Patrick Roy has been slipping into their water bottles.
Everyone except Stastny.
Which is unfortunate, because he was a good player for Colorado when the Avalanche were a bad team. When no one else was really putting the puck in the net, this was the go-to guy. When the goalie was pulled and the Avs needed a marker, it was Stastny that they put out onto the ice.
Now he’s an afterthought on a team that is churning along and leaving him in the dust in the process.
Stastny is in the final year of his contract and will make more than $6 million this season. Barring a massive surge from him, it’s likely that he’ll see his pay cut in half next year, and he might not even be in Colorado any more. The team is clearly stacked at center and is rostering guys that bring more elements to the table than Stastny.
On a team full of overachievers and bright lights, so far Stastny has been the only dim one.