NHL rumors: Paul Stastny to 'see what's out there,' offer Avs chance

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Paul Stastny has five straight 50-plus point seasons. (Getty Images)
Paul Stastny has five straight 50-plus point seasons. (Getty Images)

More NHL Offseason: NHL rumors | Updating rumor mill | 2014-15 preseason odds

The strength of the upcoming free-agent class depended partly on whether Paul Stastny would test the market or re-sign with the Avalanche. It's possible he could do both.

Stastny and the Avalanche have been in negotiations off and on for weeks to see if they could reach a new deal with the UFA-bound center. Part of the rub was trying to decrease Stasty's pay coming off a productive season.

A deal still hasnt' been struck and now that the interview period for free agents has begun, Stastny is going to explore but keep the Avs in mind. From Adrian Dater at the Denver Post:

The news is mixed: Stastny wants to "see what's out there," Sakic reports. So, we are officially entering into the period where teams are free to call Stastny and Keator and put on the full-court press. BUT, as I reported yesterday: essentially Stastny/Keator have made a vow to Sakic and the Avs: that they will circle back Colorado and give them the right of first refusal to keep him.

If it comes to that, the Avs might not like the price they will hear. You can argue that Stastny is the top free-agent center available this summer and will very likely have some big numbers thrown his way.

That seems even more likely with the interest already pouring in for Stastny.

Wild beat writer Michael Russo also says Minnesota is highly interested and every other beat reporter in the NHL could probably report the same thing. Stastny is coming off a 25-goal, 35-assist season and has had five straight season (excluding lockout-shortened 2013) with at least 53 points. Plus he's still just 28 years old. Of course there will be interest.

The starting point on a Stastny deal will be high, too, considering his expiring contract carried a cap hit of $6.6 million. It's hard to justify a salary decrease after the production he gave the Avs in that deal.

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