Acquiring Stastny Makes Too Much Sense For Leafs

If Paul Stastny is being shopped at the NHL Entry Draft on Sunday, general manager Dave Nonis must do everything in his power to acquire the 27-year-old.

With breaking news of Vincent Lecavalier being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, some wonder if the Leafs should throw all their eggs in that basket. While Lecavalier is productive, notching 81 points in his last 103 games, he’s 33 years old and will likely have upwards of 10 teams interested in his services. Is Nonis prepared to enter a bidding war and potentially give out a long-term contract for an aging player? He has made it clear that his vision for the Leafs is to import young players that can make an impact now but also provide a long-term solution.

Stastny may not be a budding 22-year-old star, but at 27 he has many good years ahead of him. If reports are to be believed and Colorado draft Nathan MacKinnon, Stastny’s days there could finally be numbered.  While Patrick Roy claims he’d be surprised if the centreman is moved, as he could play left wing, consider it nothing more than the Avs protecting an asset. If MacKinnon joins the fold instead of Seth Jones, they wil have to upgrade on defence and trading Stastny may be the best option available to accomplish that.

The Leafs may be on the lookout to bolster their blueline, but one thing they have in spades in that department is offensive potency. Jake Gardiner had been the odd man out for much of last season so consider him an addition to the Leafs’ top-four moving forward. A player like Cody Franson, then, who is an RFA and coming off a career-year in points-per-game, could be made available. He’d likely sign for relatively cheap on the Avalanche and he’d provide an upgrade on defence. The Leafs would, in all likelihood, have to relinquish more assets than that, but it’s hard to envision an overpayment when one considers there are a limited amount of teams that can take on Stastny’s $6.6-million cap hit. The bonus from the Leafs’ perspective is that once his contract is up next summer, should he choose to re-sign in that scenario, he’d likely return with a decreased cap hit.

According to www.behindthenet.ca, Stastny had unfavourable offensive zone starts last season at 42.5 per cent, which might explain his negative possession numbers, albeit playing tough minutes.

Stastny may not be the elite puck possession player the Leafs need, but he’s decent in that department and he’s an effective two-way centre (he's also not named Tyler Bozak).

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