by Ray Downs
The Blues got better offensively by signing center Paul Stastny, arguably the best player available out of this summer's unrestricted free agent crop. And it doesn't hurt that he's considered a St. Louisan, either.
Adding Stastny, who signed a 4-year, $28 million contract Tuesday, would be a big deal for any team, but for the Blues, it's especially sweet because of his St. Louis connections. So sweet that the Blues organization made a video, accompanied by P. Diddy's hit song, "Dirty Money," to welcome Stastny home.
Even Brett Hull, the former prolific tweeter who rarely tweets nowadays, got in on the act:
Welcome back home @PaulyWalnuts26— Brett Hull (@HOFBlues16) July 1, 2014
Stastny has long been rumored to be a possible Blue, in part due to his St. Louis cred. He's son of NHL great Peter Stastny, who put up Hall of Fame numbers while playing for the Quebec Nordiques, New Jersey Devils, and at the end of his career, a short stint with the Blues. The younger Stastny spent his early years in Quebec and New Jersey, but at the age of eight, he arrived in St. Louis when his dad put on the blue and gold.
Although Peter retired shortly after joining the Blues, he stayed with the organization as a scout and raised his family in the area. Stastny and brother Yan (who also played for the Blues) both went to Chaminade College Preparatory School and played on the hockey team there.
In an interview with St. Louis Magazine, Stastny showed off his hometown credentials by admitting his favorite local foods are Imo's Pizza, toasted raviolis, and Carl's Drive-In. He also said he roots for the Cardinals, but prefers watching at home with the A/C, rather than at the ballpark in the humidity.
After graduating from Chaminade College Preparatory School, Stastny went to the University of Colorado-Denver, where he was a standout on the hockey team and eventually got drafted by the Colorado Avalanche. But after his father's outburst about that team's moves, one might draw the conclusion that signing with St. Louis was in the works years ago.
Back in 2011, the Avalanche and Blues made a blockbuster trade - the deal that brought in Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart to St. Louis in exchange for Erik Johnson and Jay McClement. Stastny had recently signed a five-year contract with the Avalanche, and his father - who today serves in the European Parliament - had some strong words about how he thought the move "destroyed the team:"
"This young team was ready to challenge, almost, for a Stanley Cup this season. They were so good. All they needed was some more chemistry, and some synergies. Instead, they destroyed the team. I mean, that was a one-way deal. [Blues' General Manager Doug Armstrong] will look like a genius. I don't know what they were thinking in the Colorado organization. I should not have said this, but I'm so, so mad what they've done to this team. They've moved the team about two to three years back again."
But now, Paul Stastny is on the Blues and playing with Shattenkirk, who has been a rock for the team. Maybe this was part of Armstrong's plan all along?
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