Lost in the excitement of Colorado’s red-hot start is the status of its highest-paid player, Paul Stastny.
Stastny, 27, is in the final year of a five-year, $33 million deal with a $6.6 million average annual cap hit. He’s playing well — five points in nine games, 18:24 TOI per night — and has a big fan in head coach Patrick Roy, but hasn’t been approached about re-signing with the Avs, according to agent Matt Keator.
“Whether it’s in the back of my mind or not, it’s something you can’t really worry about,” Stastny told the Denver Post. “It’s out of your control. If you’re part of the solution, then you are. If you’re not, you’re not.
“I’m just having fun with this team right now and doing anything I can to help it win.”
The hangup with Stastny is Colorado’s outstanding depth at center, and the relative youth of said depth. Matt Duchene (23 years old), Ryan O’Reilly (22) and Nathan MacKinnon (18) all play in the middle and figure to be with the organization for a long time — Duchene’s signed through 2019, MacKinnon’s on an entry-level deal ’til 2016 while O’Reilly is a RFA at the end of this season.
Where Stastny fits in that picture remains to be seen, assuming he fits at all. There’s a good chance he could play as a top-two center in a variety of other cities, a tantalizing reason to hit the UFA market this summer.
For now, though, Roy is focused on the present and the “beautiful problem” his glut of centers presents.
“I’d rather deal with this than having no centers,” Roy explained. “Honestly, it hasn’t been a problem so far. Everybody is having their share of ice time. We’re very lucky. You look at all the teams at the top of the standings, they all have three very good centers and four good lines.
“When you build a team, you want to build it (up) the middle.”