Avs Get Jarome Iginla And Lose Paul Stastny, But Are They Better?


Jarome Iginla #12 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his second period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 18, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty

I think so. One thing is for sure: the Avs are a more, ahem, experienced team than they were yesterday. Since Monday afternoon, the Avs have added Daniel Briere (36), Jarome Iginla (37 today) and Brad Stuart (34) and lost Paul Stastny (28), P.A. Parenteau (30) and Andre Benoit (30), not to mention Brad Malone (25).


The Avs also added Jesse Winchester (30) from Florida. He could be the team’s new fourth-line center, though it’s more likely he’ll be a winger. That’s mostly where he played with the Panthers.

OK, here’s what I really think: I think the Avs are a bigger and tougher team than they were before. Their dressing room has more guys who have been there before. Yes, it’s an older room now. Iginla, Briere, Stuart, etc., have seen their best days already, almost certainly. Yes, losing Stastny, especially to the division rival Blues, was a tough loss. And the Avs can’t sit and feel too self-righteous now about losing him, because they clearly tried to get him back, right up until the final day. And, yes, the Avs essentially gambled and lost with Stastny. They decided to keep him at the trade deadline, their last chance to get something in return for him, and hope that a) they might win a Stanley Cup this year with him and/or b) hope their offer over the summer would be good enough to keep him. It wasn’t.

The Blues gave him $7 million a year, and the Avs, I’m told, never quite reached the $6 million mark on him. They might have offered one more year in term than the Blues (that’s not confirmed yet), but never the per-year dollar amount the Blues gave. The Avs basically said to Stastny “we’ll give you more term security in exchange for a bit off the AAV.” St. Louis, a good team and where Stastny mostly grew up, proved a more enticing place for him.

That’s business. I think the Avs can feel good about sticking to their principles on Stastny. They were true to their word about how they value their lineup.

And, frankly, I think the Blues overpaid by quite a lot for Stastny. Look, I’m not going to sit and bash Stastny too much here. He’s a good player and a good person, and I always found him to be gracious and accountable as a person. But does anyone think the Avs ever got their money’s worth with Stastny when they gave him $6.6 million each of the last five years?

In the eight years he was here, the Avs won one playoff series before getting swept in the next round. It’s just my opinion, but I always came away feeling like he shrank a little in the biggest games. It’s also my observation that I never saw enough fire and emotion out of him. That’ just an observation, not something to be argued on an analytics stat sheet.

His defenders will say “But look at his Corsi, look at his faceoff percentage, look at the players he usually had to match up against.” Fair points, all. Nowhere will I ever say that Stastny isn’t a good player. But he’s not a great player. He’s not a marquee player. He’s a nice guy to have on a team with other real leaders. Maybe he’ll fit in just perfectly in St. Louis then. This definitely may go down, when all is said and written, as a bad choice by the Avs – to let a Stastny go and bring in some big-name, but washed up guys as replacements.

Does anyone really think Iginla is washed up though? I don’t. The Boston Bruins didn’t, who tried to keep him. He led the Eastern Conference regular-season champion Bruins in goals with 31. He was good in the playoffs for Boston. He’s 37, yes, but the guy is an absolute freak when it comes to fitness. He’s built like a truck. Put him on a line with Nate MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog and, yeah, I see 25-35 goals again.

Iginla is a quiet guy by nature, and some have criticized him at times for not being more of a rah-rah leader, for being a little too milquetoast. Maybe off the ice he’s that way, but the player I’ve always seen on the ice was a rough, rough customer who made life hell on defensemen and goalies. Is he a dominant, 50-goal guy still? No. He’s slowed down a little, for sure. But skating was never his best asset anyway. What he still seems to have in abundance is a wickedly effective shot and a powerful presence in front of the net. Those are two things this Avs team needed more of, particularly the latter.

Stastny is a smaller, finesse guy. For all the talk about him having a great playoffs, by the way (10 points in seven games), he also was a combined minus-4 in the final two, most critical games of the series against the Wild. I think Stastny got scared and had a “contract year” his final year of his deal. I also think he played most of the year with two of the last three Calder winners in MacKinnon and Landeskog. I think that helped his numbers just a tad. The other years, when he didn’t have as many other good players to play with (though he did play with Landeskog quite a bit the previous two years), his numbers weren’t quite as impressive. That argument cuts both ways. I think Stastny is a nice guy to have on a good team, but he doesn’t make those around him appreciably better.

The Avs got Brad Stuart from San Jose, which makes them older and maybe a bit slower, but also tougher and smarter. He’s going to be a guy who can just go out and bang some heads and do smart little veteran things and help out a younger partner. A second-round pick might have been a bit high for him, but we’ll see.

All in all, the day would have been a huge downer for the Avs if they hadn’t gotten a proven stick like Iginla’s, but it happened. Fact is, Stastny was always the guy who was expendable of the top three centers. And he would have eaten into MacKinnon’s ice time and development as a center, which is where he was always going to end up. He and Duchene give the Avs a pretty nice 1-2 punch up the middle, I think most would still agree.

They aren’t tied to some overpaid contract to Stastny anymore. Once was enough.

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Source : http://blogs.denverpost.com/avs/2014/07/01/avs-get-iginla-lose-stastny-avs-better-team-yesterday/18756/

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