Apr 17, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) celebrates after scoring the game winning goal during the overtime period of game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Blues sign Paul Stastny to four-year deal

The St. Louis Blues have signed center Paul Stastny to a four year deal worth $28 million per the team’s official website. He leaves the team that drafted him in 2005, the Colorado Avalanche.

Stastny was widely considered the top free agent center available. After Ryan Kesler went to Anaheim and Jason Spezza went to Dallas via trade, Stastny wasn’t just the top free agent center potentially available to a new team, he was the only top-two center available to anyone.

Now the St. Louis Blues sport Stastny, David Backes and Patrik Berglund as potential centers in an effort to get past the first round of the playoffs and emerge beyond the likes of Chicago and Los Angeles in the brutal Western Conference.

The deal averages $7 million/year, which is a slight raise from the 5 year $6.6 million/year contract that Stastny had just finished serving with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche meanwhile will count on Nathan MacKinnon and/or Ryan O’Reilly — if he is even in Colorado next season — to fill the gap in center left by Stastny’s departure. The Avalanche have about $20 million of cap space, per CapGeek, so the team could still be a player in the trade market for a replacement center or they could sign bottom six center to play behind those two.

The market is drying up quickly though and it may better serve Colorado to let their young players grow into a role of more responsibility. As contracts fly on the first day of free agency, the Avalanche no doubt have plenty to do before training camp in September.

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Tags: Colorado Avalanche NHL Free Agency St. Louis Blues

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