One of this offseason’s biggest free-agent fish could be out of the pond already. Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny, who was acquired by the team at the NHL Trade Deadline on February 26th, admitted on St. Louis’ 590 The Fan radio station that he’s open to a return to his former team, the St. Louis Blues via free agency.
“I don’t think I’ve closed the door on anything,” Stastny said May 25. “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.”
Uh oh… Jets fans won’t like that. Especially, after witnessing his impressive 15 point performance in 17 postseason games with the team. In total, Stastny had 16 goals and 53 points in 82 games split between the Blues and the Jets. The 32 year old playmaker is bound to be a hot commodity on the free-agent market, but luckily for Jets fans he hasn’t given up the idea of returning to Winnipeg.
“We had the right fit right from the start,” Stastny said about his time with the Jets and in particular about playing with linemates Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has also left the door open to a Stastny return.
“It was a great experience talking to [Stastny] in the exit meeting and hearing about his decision-making process in coming here, and his thought process after being here and moving forward,” Cheveldayoff said. “It’s amazing how a player like that can come into your lineup and feel like he’s been a part of it forever. That type of chemistry and symmetry, that is testament to the type of person he is and how tight our group was.”
Statsny’s four year, $28 million deal that he signed with the Blues in free agency in 2014 expires this July 1st. Incredibly, this is the second big UFA payday that Stastny will experience in his career, having left the Colorado Avalanche organization as a UFA during the summer of 2014. Analysts and NHL insiders predict that his salary could be as high as $5.5 million per season on his new deal, a significant decrease from his previous $7 million annual salary, but still high enough to warrant a second thought from most teams.