Stastny ‘needs to play better,’ says Hitch

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Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wants “more” out of his team’s big free-agent acquisition, Paul Stastny.

“He needs to play better,” Hitchcock said today, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “We need more from him. … It’s not frustrating. We just need more from him.”

Stastny has just three goals and four assists in 17 games this season. The 28-year-old center left Colorado in the summer, signing a four-year, $28 million contract with St. Louis in a move that many believed could help put the Blues over the top in the tough Western Conference.

Hitchcock was certainly a fan of the signing.

“The landscape of the West is there are at least eight or 10 teams that are extremely deep and it’s about having enough firepower in your lineup to control the puck,” he said in July. “You score more when you control the puck more, so Paul’s patience and the way he plays the game, how responsible he is in both ends of the rink, he really fits our team. He fits the way we already play.”

But after being the Avalanche’s top possession forward last season, Stastny has been merely middling for St. Louis. And that’s despite starting a high number of his shifts in the offensive zone, something he didn’t do in Colorado.

Last night in Chicago, Stastny logged just 15:20 of ice time in a 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks.