Desperate Blues overpay for Paul Stastny at four years, $28 million

Harrison Mooney
FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2014 file photo, Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) looks on before a face off against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver. NHL teams can begin making deals with free agents Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

One of the biggest name free agents of 2014 is off the market, as Paul Stastny has signed with the St. Louis Blues for four years, at $7 million per year.

Pardon the truism, but that's a lot of money. It's a lot of money for a guy that was never really worth the $6.6 million cap hit on the deal he had in Colorado over the last five years. And it's a lot of money for a guy that really only started to look even close to worth it in the playoffs, while skating alongside wingers superior to the ones he'll have in St. Louis.

But that's what it takes to snag the best guy, and the Blues wanted the best guy badly. This is a team desperate to improve, desperate to get over the hump, and desperate to be more offensive in order to hang with and, ideally, defeat the friggin' Chicago Blackhawks.

David Backes has been carrying the load in St. Louis for years, but he's a two-way centre, which means he's got some other stuff to do besides score goals, and there hasn't been anyone behind him that can pick up the scoring slack when he has to go into shutdown mode.

If Stastny can do that, and the Blues can finally edge out the mighty Blackhawks? Well, you can't put a price on that. That's worth $28 million, even if Stastny never really is. And he won't be.

The deal could have been worse, however. Four years isn't terrible. It's not seven, and it could have been seven. Instead, the Blues are only overpaying Stastny through his good years. He'll be free to get more than he deserves from someone else when he turns 32.