Paul Stastny

Avs’ Stastny: ‘I’m way better than I was my first couple years’


Though his production has tailed off recently, Paul Stastny insists he’s a superior player now to when he broke into the league six seasons ago.

“I think I’m way better than I was my first couple years,” Stastny told the Denver Post. “Whether I’ve played with different guys or different systems, the numbers don’t show it, but I feel better, that’s the most important thing.”

That’s an interesting take, especially when you consider the numbers.

Stastny debuted at 21 and had a tremendous rookie campaign, scoring 78 points in 82 games while finishing as the runner-up to Evgeni Malkin for the ’07 Calder Trophy.

The next year, no sophomore slump. Stastny put up 71 points in just 66 games despite missing extensive time with appendicitis and a groin injury.

That earned him a massive five-year, $33 million extension from the Avs (a deal that expires this season.)

A broken arm and foot injury derailed his 2008-09 campaign — he only played 45 games, scoring 36 points — but Stastny bounced back in 2009-10, scoring a career-high 79 points as the Avs made a surprising playoff appearance.

From there, it’s been a rough ride.

Stastny’s contract — which carries a hefty $6.6 million cap hit annually — has made him a constant target for trade rumors, as has his declining production.

His points-per-game average has dropped in each of the last three years, from 0.77 in 2010-11 to 0.67 in 2011-12 to 0.60 last season.

Despite this, Stastny insists he’s a superior player today.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to get back to believing in yourself,” he told the Post. “I expect to be a point-a-game player when I’m playing with confidence.”

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.