No matter what they say, the St. Louis Blues obviously expect big things from Paul Stastny after signing him to a four-year, $28 million contract.
Still, the Blues would be wise to temper expectations regarding the American center after he experienced years of criticism while carrying a big contract on a bad team. It seems like the Blues brass are aiming to find that right balance, as the Belleville News-Democrat reports:
“We were not asking anyone to come in here with a cape on and be Superman,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. “We’re just looking for another strong piece to the puzzle that can keep us competitive. Both [Stastny and Jori Lehtera] can make their wingers better.”
“We haven’t had a true center iceman with top-end passing skills and I think both of those guys can find their wingers. Obviously I’m betting a lot of money that we’re more difficult to defend to today than we were two days ago.”
Stastny, 28, is now four seasons removed from his point-per-game peak. Expecting offensive fireworks on that level could be quite dangerous. People increasingly stand up for Stastny when you consider his ability to handle tough defensive assignments while generating about 50-60 points, which will surely score points with defensive-minded head coach Ken Hitchcock.
Does that mean that Stastny will probably be a little overpaid in the eyes of many, especially those who only look at goals, assists, points and other simple stats? Probably, but the Blues won’t complain if he can help them battle the many elite centers populating the often-brutal Western Conference.
If nothing else, he needs to be a significant upgrade over Derek Roy.