Sunday, July 6, 2014

Paul Stastny Jersey Card

Arguably the biggest-impact signing on July 1st, Paul Stastny left the Colorado Avalanche for the St. Louis Blues, another organization his father - Hall Of Famer Peter Stastny, the highest-scoring player of the 1980s not named Wayne Gretzky - played for, and the city where Paul grew up.

There will always be comparisons between Paul and his father, but that's because he can take them. He is a leader (he wore the 'A' on his jersey in Colorado and for Team USA, who he also captained to a bronze medal  at the 2013 World Championships), is a tremendous playmaker who can also score, has a terrific all-around game and is responsible defensively. He is also disciplined and can handle first-unit powerplay and penalty-killing unit tasks, and would be comfortable playing any role on any team, though by default, he'd probably be the #1 center on at least 26 NHL teams, as he will be with the Blues.

With the salary cap just under $70M this season and on the rise for the next three, signing Stastny to a 4-year deal paying him $7M per is a steal, because he automatically becomes the team's best player, paid at a little more than 10% of the cap, then his cap hit percentage diminishes, possibly ending at around 8.5%, which is ideal for your top forward, who would play close to 22 minutes per game while making everyone around him better.

This rises the Blues' stock close to the level of the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, in my opinion, provided Brian Elliott and Jake Allen have career years; even if they don't, they are not a downgrade from Ryan Miller at this stage of his career; they can stop 91% of the shots they face, he couldn't. Head coach Ken Hitchcock, for one, believes the intangibles could stack up well for his team. Also, it'll be much easier to find a capable goalie if it doesn't work or in case of injury at the trade deadline, because after the top-three of Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist and Pekka Rinne, the NHL is comprised of 15 goalies who are approximately at the same level, and 25 to 35 more who are just one notch under those guys; there has never been a more even nor better crop of high-quality goalies in the history of hockey, and there is only room for 30 starters in the league - and just 16 in the playoffs.

I purchased some 2013-14 SP Game-Used Edition boxes from Upper Deck this winter, and oddly enough was very satisfied with my pulls; I could have had them for much cheaper by purchasing them individually on Ebay, it turns out, because it seems like the players I like (except for P.K. Subban) sell for under $5 each; as a matter of fact, this Paul Stastny card, #AF-ST in the set, part of the Authentic Fabrics sub-set, often sells between $1 and $2, but I don't care:
It shows him wearing the Avs' white (away) uniform, which I liked a lot more before Reebok put piping on the chest and removed the blue lines separating the white from the burgundy; hopefully the team can revert back to its former uniforms - as many others have - soon, though I really like their current third. The big swatch on the front of the card matches the jersey on the card, which I like.

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