With a $7 million cap hit, Paul Stastny is the most expensive member of the St. Louis Blues. By no means was he the most important or productive player on the roster in 2014-15, however.
The Blues didn’t have bloated expectations for Stastny heading into his first season with the team. GM Doug Armstrong noted to the Belleville News-Democrat that he didn’t expect Stastny “to come in here with a cape on and be Superman” when they signed him.
Even so, the two-way forward left something to be desired. Back in December, Ken Hitchcock “wanted him to play better.” Armstrong backed up such a stance to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, stating how much more he wants from the 29-year-old next season.
“Paul Stastny needs to be a bigger part of our group,” Armstrong said. “He’s our highest-paid player, we need him to be a bigger and better part of our team.”
Despite those sober expectations, perhaps the Blues need to be more realistic about this situation?
Stastny disappointed many in Colorado, in large part because his high salary generated high expectations for big point totals. Instead, the center’s value came from combining decent production with subtly impressive possession stats.
Those “fancy stats” remained positive with St. Louis, but his point totals left something to be desired (most notably a measly goal in six playoff games). Hitchcock and Armstrong must ponder how they’re using Stastny and what they really want from him.
According to Left Wing Lock, his most common linemates were Patrik Berglund and Dmitrij Jaskin. There’s nothing wrong with those forwards, and placing Stastny with that duo opens the door for St. Louis to boast impressive offensive depth. Still, if you give him a third-line-type assignment, can you complain as loudly about his production?
These aren’t the easiest questions, but the Blues needs to address situations like these if they want to “evolve.”