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Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Grades: Paul Stastny

While the Carolina Hurricanes season ended in disappointment, the team had a lot to be proud of. Now in the offseason, tough decisions will be made, and management will work to put the team in a place to succeed next season. In the meantime, we will take a look back at individual players’ seasons and see how they did. For the Carolina Hurricanes offseason grades, today we look at Paul Stastny.

Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Grade: Paul Stastny

After coming off of a good year with the Winnipeg Jets, veteran centre Paul Stastny signed a one-year deal with Carolina at a fairly team-friendly 1.5-million-dollar cap hit. With 21 goals in the 2021-22 season, Stastny brought to Carolina a decent depth scoring option with veteran experience. Stastny has been in the league since 2006 and is a versatile forward who scores a lot of his goals in tight around the net. Getting to the net was something Carolina was certainly looking for this year and getting Stastny seemed like a decent option to help in that regard. He also spent time on the wing as well as at centre throughout his career. No one expected him to be a 40-goal scorer but to provide depth scoring and round out the lineup.

Paul Stastny’s Regular Season

Paul Stastny spent a decent chunk of the year playing wing and centre on the fourth line playing with a combination of players but also played in the second-line centre spot with Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas, with some other wingers sprinkled in, a fair amount too. Even though that line only played together 29 games, they played the third most minutes of any Hurricanes forward line this season. However, whether it was giving him some rest, utilizing different players at different times, or the Hurricanes depth, Stastny also found himself watching from the press box from time to time. For a younger player this may have been tough to handle but for a veteran like Stastny, he seemed to handle it really well. While not the fastest skater, when he was inserted into the lineup, he would generally do what he was expected to.

His production dropped off from last year by a decent amount. Stastny scored nine goals and 13 assists in 71 games played. In addition to playing up and down the lineup, he spent time on the powerplay, mostly playing down low and in front of the net. He had two powerplay goals and four powerplay points. He also had three game winning goals and was 57.6% in the faceoff dot. In more nuanced stats, he had 20 takeaways compared to only 8 giveaways. Overall, Stastny provided a sort of offensive Swiss army knife for Carolina where he did not excel in any one area but was decent at a lot.

Paul Stastny’s Playoffs

Due to injuries and reliability on the veteran forward, Paul Stastny suited up for all of the Hurricanes playoff games this year. To only score nine goals in 71 games in the regular season, Stastny put up four in 15 playoff games but no assists. Carolina utilized him predominantly on the fourth line and on the powerplay. Notably, he scored the game winning overtime goal in Round One against the New York Islanders that sent Carolina on to the Second Round. While his expected goal stats were nothing too impressive, his conversion in the playoffs sort of shot up quite a bit. He led the team with a 1.7 goals scored above expected and a 30.8% shooting percentage.

In addition, his Corsi score of 61% was second on the team in the playoffs and his faceoff percentage slightly increased from his regular season to 58.7%. For a depth forward, Stastny was playing somewhat over what may have been expected on the production front. Even though he might not have been driving the team in shot generation, he was actually one of the more opportunistic forwards in the playoffs for Carolina without being a complete liability defensively.

The Verdict

As mentioned above, Paul Stastny came in this year with the expectation of providing forward depth, a presence at the front of the net, and veteran leadership. Largely he met this expectation throughout the year and slightly exceeded it in the playoffs. He was able to provide leadership to some of Carolina’s younger players. While many were likely hoping for Stastny to get closer to his previous year’s goal total, the real expectation at this point of his career was a little lower.

With younger players performing fairly well such as Jack Drury, and possible free agent depth forward explorations, Stastny probably will not be back with Carolina next year. But for this season, Stastny largely did the job Carolina brought him in to do with some clutch performance in the playoffs. This largely drove this Carolina Hurricanes offseason grade.

Grade: C+

Main Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

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