The Winnipeg Jets were known to be in the market for a centre heading into the trade deadline this year, and they have their man in the form of Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues. While not on many trade radars, Stastny is going to the Jets now as a pure playoff rental as he hits free agency at the end of this season.
In terms of his overall cost, the Blues are retaining 50% of his salary for this year, making him an extremely affordable piece for a team who might be looking to add more as the deadline wears on. The cost to acquire him was fairly steep, including a lottery protected first round pick, a fourth round pick, and top prospect Erik Foley, who plays in the NCAA at Providence.
After missing out on Tomas Plekanec, the Jets grabbed an extremely good consolation prize in Stastny who is younger, and produces more offence at this stage of his career.
Comparatively speaking, Stastny can provide much of the same defensive coverage that Plekanec does, but at the same time generates much more on the offensive side of the puck. Given the rumours that the newly acquired centre would slot between Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, giving the Jets arguably three deep scoring lines going forward. As it stands Stastny has 12 games and 28 assists in 63 games for the Blues, a solid amount of production for someone playing his current role.
He does well getting pucks at the net, and it’s noticeable trend that the Blues struggled to get shots from high danger areas when he was off the ice, as compared to him being on the ice.
Taking it one step further, everyone who played with Stastny this year saw a marked improvement in their overall play, and saw a major drop without him on the ice with them.
In Winnipeg he won’t be required to play heavy minutes like he did in St. Louis, freeing him up to help boost the play of the aforementioned Laine and Ehlers, who in their own right are phenomenal players. The Jets already rank fourth in the NHL in goals for, and third in goals per game overall, adding Stastny is just adding more firepower to an offence that already can fire on all cylinders.
In terms of what they gave up; they paid a fairly heavy price surrendering one of their top rated prospects outside of the NHL, and a first and fourth pick. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler is extremely high on him, ranking him second in his list of the Winnipeg Jets prospect pool, which is extremely deep in it’s own right. Foley is in the midst of a solid junior year at Providence, with 15 goals and 19 assists in 32 games for the Friars this year.
The first round pick is likely to be a late one given how the Jets are performing this year, and the fourth round pick is fairly inconsequential as it stands right now. In terms of rentals however he is perfect for the Jets, who can upgrade their third line spot, as Andrew Copp has done the best he can in the role for the time being. To get a major asset like Stastny even as a rental is always going to cost a decent chunk. On the positive side of things, Foley is currently not now a part of the NHL roster, or the AHL team making a Calder Cup push, and despite the pick being lottery protected, it’s highly unlikely that the Jets will miss the playoffs in this season. For the Jets the fact that the Blues are retaining 50% of his remaining salary also gives them space to make further moves today.
Overall, in terms of what was available on the market and the prices being thrown around so far, this trade looks like decent value for the Jets who added a key piece for a deep playoff run.