View Full Version : Think fast: Stastny step ahead

10-22-2008, 07:25 PM
Paul Stastny always seems hyper. He moves in quick little bursts around the Avalanche locker room, whether gulping water after a hard practice or dressing as though he's in a beat-the-clock contest against teammates. He talks in quicker bursts, almost as fast as those people at the end of car ads.

On skates, in a game for the Avalanche, Stastny seems more deliberate. It's his mind that is faster than everybody else's.

"He just knows how to play the game," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said after Stastny had two more assists in the Avs' 4-3 win over Los Angeles on Monday night. "He always has, (from) the first day he showed up at camp. He's just a smart hockey player."

One pass Stastny made to Ryan Smyth against the Kings, a play that set up the Avs' first goal of the night, made it seem like Stastny was playing three-dimensional chess and everybody else was just figuring out how to castle. Stastny, behind the net and under pressure, bypassed the easier outlet in front of him, to Milan Hejduk, to throw a long cross through two other Kings defenders who guessed he would go to Hejduk. The puck landed softly onto the stick of Smyth, who was near the high slot when the pass was made but was in prime scoring position on the left side when the puck got there.

"It was a great pass," Smyth said. "Not many guys can do that."

Stastny has 10 points in his first six games one goal, nine assists. He is the leading scorer on the Avs and was the team's lone All-Star Game selection last season. He couldn't take part in the classic because of an appendectomy.

And by the way, he's in the last year of his contract. It pays $710,000, which puts him in the lower third of the Avalanche salary chart. Bigger dollars await.

"He's going to rob the bank soon," said linemate Hejduk, the beneficiary of several fine Stastny passes, with a team-leading six goals.

Stastny, 22, brings his motor mouth to a halt when questions about his contract are brought up.

"Those go to my agent," he said.

That agent, Boston-based Matt Keator, is keenly aware that a player of similar age and statistical accomplishment, Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar, recently signed a seven-year, $47.6 million contract extension. Stastny, in fact, has better career stats than Kopitar.

But an agreement between the Avs and Stastny does not seem imminent. Keator told The Post last week that "nothing serious" had been discussed between the parties to that point.

The better Stastny plays, the more it might cost the Avs at the bargaining table, but that may be a gamble the team is willing to make although it had no comment on the status of any negotiations or plans.

For now, Stastny just wants to keep things simple by continuing to play well and letting the rest take care of itself.

"I'm just excited to be out there again after a long summer," he said. "We're getting some chances lately as a line and Smitty and Hedgie are burying them, so I just have to keep giving them the puck."

Said Granato of Stastny: "He uses his wingers so well. He's strong on the puck, and deceptive on his speed and how he creates space for himself. He can play in every situation possible."


10-23-2008, 12:54 PM
He's a great player and its almost obvious that he will be the next captain.

10-23-2008, 07:16 PM
not unless smyth and footer are still here

10-23-2008, 09:11 PM
How old is Statsny, I know he is up and coming.

10-24-2008, 03:07 AM
like 21 or 22

10-24-2008, 03:35 PM
He's 22. I would consider Stastny over both Smyth and Foote. I assume Foote will retire when his contract is up. I also think that Sakic will be back for next year. So Stastny getting the captaincy when he is 24 doesn't sound so bad.