Paul Stastny 2021-22 Stats
- 21 goals and 45 points in 71 games
- PP: 4 goals and 8 points
- Average TOI: 14:43 EV; 1:44 PP; 1:20 SH
- Advanced Stats: 52.37 CF%; 53.05 xG%; 56.38 GF%; 59.62 HDGF%
- 2006-07 NHL All-Rookie Team
- 2006-07 Calder Trophy Finalist (Jordan Staal was also a finalist)
- Career Playoffs: 26 goals and 69 points in 103 games
The Carolina Hurricanes continued their impressive offseason by signing veteran center Paul Stastny to a one year, $1.5 million deal.
It’s clear that the Hurricanes are targeting veteran and complimentary pieces to play with their talented core and Stastny is just yet another addition that will push the team to be that much better.
And it’s also clear the reason why Stastny chose Carolina: to win it all.
“We had a lot of different options on the table,” Stastny said. “That’s one thing you’ve got to think about. I’ve been fortunate to play long enough that it’s not about the dollars and cents. I think it’s just winning. It’s a chance to win. I think that’s what everyone wants. It’s so hard. The last two years they’ve been pretty close to winning. I just like the combination they have of skill, speed, strength. It’s a mix of younger guys who are hungry and older guys who want to win as well and I think it’s a coach who understands how to win.”
Stastny is a versatile forward who can play both center and wing and has moved around in each role throughout his 16 year NHL career.
The 36-year-old Canadian had a bit of a resurgence last season in Winnipeg, putting up his highest goal total (21) since the 2013-14 season when he scored 25 goals with the Colorado Avalanche.
His 45 total points was also his highest since 2017-18 when he registered 53 points.
“It’s more about creating chances,” Stastny said about his resurgence. “Sometimes you’re scoring goals when you shouldn’t be scoring goals, and sometimes you’re not scoring goals when you should be scoring goals. As long as you’re creating those chances, over the course of the year the law of averages always kind of gives and you’re going to get those opportunities. In today’s game I think you have so much skill where a lot of guys can score nice highlight-reel goals, and I’ve never been that guy. I always kind of find a way to get the front to the net and time the puck. When you look at all the goals in my career, I’m sure the majority of them are within 3 or 4 feet of the net. You’ve got to go to the hard areas to get goals.”
Stastny hasn’t been a stat sheet buster outside of a couple years at the start of his NHL career – his highest career goal total came in his rookie season and highest point total came in his fourth NHL season – but he brings solid and dependable production along with a 200-foot game.
Even on a disappointing Winnipeg Jets team, Stastny still posted strong possession and shot metrics which should translate to even better results on a deeper and more talented Carolina roster, even if he plays further down the lineup and with more minutes.
While not the fastest skater or most talented stickhandler, Stastny acts well as a bumper slot or one-touch guy, who sets the puck up for his teammates to get them into better positions. He also has a strong feel for open areas around the net, being able to float into those areas unmarked.
Another area that Stastny excels in is faceoffs, having a career faceoff win percentage of 54.1% and never having had a single season below 50%, something head coach Rod Brind’Amour will certainly love.
Losing a right-handed faceoff guy in Vincent Trocheck leaves the Canes with pretty much only lefties in the faceoff dot, but even despite that, the strong results of the centers on the Canes’ roster should allow them to keep that edge.
There are a few potential spots in the lineup where Stastny could draw in and most of them depend on how the rest of the roster performs.
For starters, Stastny is more than likely to start at the wing on either the third line with Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast as a defensive specialist trio or even down on a fourth line to provide some tremendous depth and scoring touch to the bottom six.
However, if neither Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Martin Necas can live up to the task of 2C, then Stastny can draw in and fill that void as he has throughout his career.
That’s betting on a fully healthy roster as well, and in the case of injury, Stastny can honestly fill in on most any line.
Stastny is primarily an even-strength player, with his best results coming at 5-on-5, but he could see time on the power play or penalty kill.
Primarily a net-front guy, Stastny could bring that nose-for-the-net attitude to the second power play unit, even if he hasn’t had the strongest results on the man-advantage.
It can also be expected to see Stastny draw in on the penalty kill as Brind’Amour is a fan of using all of his centers and a majority of his players on the penalty kill.
At the end of the day, Stastny is a cost-effective, proven depth forward who brings a veteran presence to the locker room and a hunger to try and win a cup before he hangs up the skates.