If the Colorado Avalanche are true to their word and select Nathan MacKinnon first overall in Sunday’s NHL draft, it will give them four top-six centers, with the other three being Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, and Paul Stastny.
Not that having too many talented centers is the worst problem in the world, but it’s no surprise that people are starting to talk about Stastny, a 27-year-old who’s seen his production fall in recent seasons and has just one year remaining on a big contract ($6.6 million cap hit) before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
However, according to incoming Avs head coach Patrick Roy, there are no immediate plans to trade Stastny. Instead, the plan right now is to have MacKinnon as the third-line center, with O’Reilly moving to the wing.
“I’d be very surprised if we move Paul,” Roy told ESPN recently. “Paul is a guy that is very happy in Denver. Paul is a team guy. I’m looking more to sit down with Ryan and see if he’ll accept to play on the left [wing] with Matt.”
Of course, all that would change Sunday if the Avs 1) trade the first overall pick or 2) are bluffing and take defenseman Seth Jones first overall.
Don’t entirely count out a Stastny trade either. On Sunday, the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater floated a potential Dion Phaneuf-for-Stastny swap, though Dater added he wasn’t aware of any talks between the Avs and Leafs.