The Philadelphia Flyers, along with every other team, has areas on their roster they would like to improve this offseason. One of those positions is center, more specifically 3C. Though the list of players to fill that role expands further than on individual, Paul Stastny should be at the top of Ron Hextall‘s list.
Paul Stastny a Perfect Fit for Philadelphia
Stastny will be 32-years-old at the start of next season and is at the end of his four-year, $28 million deal. He is a reliable, battle-tested center that can be relied upon to produce between 40 and 50 points a year. This past season, Stastny posted a combined 16 goals and 37 assists with St. Louis and Winnipeg. Additionally, he recorded 15 points in 17 postseason games this spring with the Jets.
After a news conference on Thursday, June 14th, Hextall stated he is looking to improve the team but will not commit to a long-term deal. He is more in the market for a player that can serve as an effective place-holder for the prospects. The Flyers certainly have the cap space this summer to bring in a player of significance, so a pricey deal is not out of the question. A substantial cap-hit can only stay on the books for one to two years.
Of all the possible 3C options via free agency, Stastny would provide the most significant improvement. Realistically, he could assume the role of 2C for another franchise. However, in Philadelphia, that role belongs to Nolan Patrick. Still having the likes of Stastny, Patrick, and Sean Couturier centering the Flyers top three lines would provide the team with some much-needed depth that it has been missing. There is also the chance that Stastny would be comfortable with signing a short-term contract, as long as the salary compensates for the lack of term on the deal.
Obstacles in Getting a Deal Done
A contract agreement this summer between Stastny and the Flyers makes sense for some reasons. However, there are also some factors that could prevent the veteran center from committing to Philadelphia.
First off, there is no evidence pointing to him wanting to leave Winnipeg. At 32, Stastny knows that his window for winning a Stanley Cup is only getting smaller. The Jets may provide with the best opportunity for winning a championship. Winnipeg would most likely love to have him back as well. The big question is whether they will be able to afford him with all of the other deals they will have to make this offseason.
Another obstacle that could get in the way is the idea of a short-term contract. From an organizational standpoint, it makes sense as to why you would want to bring in a player like Stastny on a one or two year deal. There is also the chance he would be comfortable signing with a team only for a couple of seasons. However, there is also the chance that a short-term contract does not peak Stastny’s interest. He may view this summer as his last opportunity to “cash-in,” and there should be at least one or two teams willing to give him a long-term contract. If he is unwilling to sign a short-term deal, you can count Philadelphia out as a potential landing spot.
The Flyers would be incredibly fortunate to bring a player the caliber of Paul Stastny. Hextall will have plenty of cap space to get a deal done. Stastny just has to be willing to agree to a shorter term contract. A lot can happen from now until July 1st, but this is indeed something to keep an eye on.
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