Trade: Jets bring back Stastny as Golden Knights shed cap space

Paul Stastny is headed back to the Jets after he was dealt from the Golden Knights for a 2022 conditional fourth-round pick and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom.

Vegas will get the pick if Stastny plays five games in the 2020-21 NHL season.

This is 34-year-old Stastny’s second stint in Winnipeg after he was dealt from St. Louis at the 2018 NHL trade deadline. He played 36 regular season and playoff games before signing a three-year, $19.5M deal with Vegas. He’s in the final year of that deal that carries a $6.5M salary cap hit.

With all the Patrik Laine trade rumors, could this move help kill off those talks? Laine reportedly was unhappy and wanted to play with Mark Scheifele next season. How does he feel about lining up alongside Stastny? The pair did combine — along with Nikolaj Ehlers — for 16 even strength points together in the 2017-18 regular season and playoffs.

As the Jets strengthen down the middle, Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon opens up room on their cap to help their pursuit of Alex Pietrangelo. Next on his list to move? Marc-Andre Fleury ($7M cap hit) and Nate Schmidt ($5.95M cap hit).

Pietrangelo is now on the market after he was unable to work out an extension with the Blues. Because the market is now open, he’s no longer eligible for an eight-year deal. A seven-year contract is now the max for him to sign with any team. While he’s stated he prefers to remain in St. Louis, the flat $81.5M cap ceiling makes finding common ground on a rich, long-term extension hard for the defenseman and GM Doug Armstrong.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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