Target: Paul Stastny

The search for a #1 center continues.

As the Brad Richards saga drags on, teams are beginning to set their sights on other options.  One pivot, Paul Stastny, has been the subject of trade rumors since February.  He’d come roughly $1 million cheaper than Richards:  Stastny has a cap hit of $6.6 million per season, (under contract until 2014).  Playing on a team heavy at center (and with prospect Joey Hishon making a charge towards the NHL ranks), it is actually plausible that Stastny could be had, for the right price.

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A trade for Stastny could involve an avalanche of prospects and picks moving back to Colorado.

From Mike Ulmer, of

If (the Leafs) can’t sign Richards, the conjecture starts with talk of trades for Jeff Carter, Mike Richards or Paul Stastny. But instead of losing cap space and no roster players, the Leafs would need to take on money and hand over material in a trade. The Leafs have two late first round draft choices. If no deal is consummated at the June 24th and 25th NHL draft, the dominoes should begin to fall with the July 1 free agent deadline.

Stastny’s dry stats:

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(Click to enlarge.)

Stastny has the all the size and the talent that the Sabres have been aching for in their search for a true #1 center.  At 25 years of age, he is just beginning to enter his physical prime.

The question is how much the Sabres would be willing to sacrifice in order to land their #1 guy right now.  He certainly wouldn’t come cheap, and the cost could never be higher than right now, where teams that fail in their desperate bid to land Brad Richards will then be upping their bids to try and win the rights for Stastny.

Still, the Sabres do have enough blue chip prospects to make a move.  Zack Kassian, Luke Adam, or even Marcus Foligno all fit the bill for a Western Conference that is heavy on size, and could be part of a package to pry Stastny out of Colorado.  It’s hard to imagine letting go of these guys, but no matter the cost, Regier and Co. simply have to have this guy on their list of possibilities.

Your move, Darcy.

Go Sabres.

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