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Stastny hopes to stay in Colorado

January 28, 2014, 6:54 PM ET [61 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Paul Stastny can't predict the future and he won't try, but he's hopeful that his future in the NHL will include remaining with the Avalanche.

"Absolutely," he said Tuesday, crediting executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic and head coach Patrick Roy for changing the team's atmosphere and culture in their first season on the job. "It's been kind of up and down here the last couple years, but with the changes we've done ... we've taken a lot of positive steps with Patty and Joe at the helm. They have a plan and it's not just a one-year plan. It's a long-term plan to get better every year and to build a Stanley Cup winner. I want to be a part of that."

Stastny, 28, is in his eighth season with the Avalanche and his 10th in Colorado. He played two seasons at the University of Denver, helped the Pioneers win the NCAA championship as a freshman in 2004-05 and was the Avalanche's second-round pick (44th overall) in the 2005 NHL draft.

Stastny also is in the final year of a five-year, $33 million contract and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. The Avalanche sits third in the Central Division with a 33-14-5 record and 71 points, the sixth-best total in the NHL, and Stastny is the team's third-highest scorer with 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games with a plus-8 plus/minus rating. He centers a line with Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay that usually is given the responsibility of playing against the opponent's best offensive unit.

"Everything kind of runs hand in hand when the team does well," he said. " I think all the individual success goes along with that."

The Avalanche didn't practice Tuesday after traveling following Monday night's 4-3 win in Dallas to complete a three-game, four-day road trip with a 2-1-0 record. I caught up with Stastny in the locker room after players watched video and worked out off the ice.

"It's always in the back of your mind, but you can't control it," he said of his contract situation. "I've always been a guy, if it's the business side, I let things like that take care of itself. I worry about what I can do on the ice. I don't get involved with the other stuff. Unless my agent has an idea or something, we rarely talk about stuff that I can't control. If something important comes up, we'll talk about it. If not, I don't want to hear about it."

Stastny is aware that trade rumors and speculation about his future have been prevalent for months, especially with his $6.6 million salary and the fact so many teammates are in the final year of their deals, the most prominent being Ryan O'Reilly, Semyon Varlamov, Jamie McGinn, John Mitchell and Tyson Barrie.

"If you start thinking about it and start reading about it, there's so much that goes on no matter if you are having the best season or the worst season," Stastny said. "Because it's a contract year, everyone is talking about free agency or trade rumors or this and that. For me, the most important thing is getting back on the winning track and making this team a threat for a Stanley Cup. Our first focus is to get into the playoffs and we just have to keep getting better in the last 30 games of the season."

Stastny has been a member of only two playoff teams since joining the Avalanche in 2006-07, when he had 28 goals and 78 points, and finished second to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin in voting for the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie. Colorado made the postseason in 2007-08, defeating Minnesota in the first round and losing to Detroit in the second round. The Avalanche lost to San Jose in the opening round in 2009-10.

"The biggest thing is Patty brought that winning attitude and now we're trying to get used to winning and not accept losing," he said. "That's the big picture, you want to win. It's been great. Even when we lose a game we know what mistakes we made and we get right back to work. We have a good group of guys here and everyone gets along. We see something special here. We have a young core, a young group of guys with a good mix of veterans that have won Stanley Cups. We just want to keep growing and not take anything for granted."

It's why Stastny hopes to stay on board.

"If they see me in the future, then that's positive," he said. "As you get older, you want to win. You're sick of losing. I've been here for the losing teams and I've been a part of the playoffs and I realize that, OK, two or three years (of losing), enough's enough. Now let's get back on track and be a winning team for years to come."
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