Paul Stastny made it clear in his year-end media availability that he wanted to play in a hockey market for a team that had a legitimate shot at ‘winning it all’.
And true to his word, he has found his new home for the 2022-23 NHL season.
The 36-year-old has signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Metropolitan Division’s Carolina Hurricanes – a team that finished last year 54-20-8 atop its division and the No. 3 overall team behind just Florida and Colorado league-wide.
“I’ve always said everything is always on the table. I’ve always kept an open mind. I think you just never know,” Stastny said back in May. “As you get older, when I was 28 as a free agent, it was different. Now that I’m older, you don’t have as many teams interested. You just hope there is teams interested and you go from there. I’ve said it before and maybe because I’ve been through it, it’s easier for me to wait it out as long as I can and just kind of see. I want the fit to be happy and then all kinds of options on the table.”
With 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points in 71 games last season, Stastny is anything but a washed up old man. Still able to produce – albeit may not in a first or second line role – he was able to find his offensive touch during two stints with the Jets, while helping defensively, on the power play and in the face-off dot.
“Paul is an extremely reliable veteran who has been effective at both ends of the ice for his entire career,” Hurricanes’ GM Don Waddell said. “He adds even more experience and leadership to our forward group, and we are excited to have him in Carolina.”
Originally drafted 44th overall by the Colorado Avalanche back in 2005, Stastny has gone on to put up 284 goals and 516 assists for an even 800 points in his 1,072 career games with Colorado, St. Louis, Vegas and Winnipeg. He has another 26 goals and 69 points in 103 career postseason contests.