Centre Paul Stastny is returning to the Winnipeg Jets after a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, a move completed just before the NHL’s free-agency signing period opened on Friday.
The Golden Knights acquired defenceman Carl Dahlstrom and a conditional 2022 fourth-round draft pick in dealing the 14th-year forward.
The trade kicked off what is expected to be a busy day of signings and moves made by NHL teams challenged by a flat salary cap of $81.5 million. The cap remains unchanged from last year as a result of revenues lost because of the coronavirus pandemic, adding a layer of uncertainty as to how much money teams will be able to spend to improve their rosters this off-season .
In a reversal from two years ago, the Jets had little room to manoeuvr under the salary cap, and were unable to re-sign Stastny after being outbid by the Golden Knights. This time, the Golden Knights made the trade in part to free space under their cap.
Stastny had 30 goals and 80 points in 121 games for Vegas. Overall, the 34-year-old has been a productive and dependable forward. But his production has dropped since his first eight seasons in Colorado, where he topped 20 goals six times.
Stastny has one year left on his three-year, $19.5 million contract.
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John Wawrow, The Associated Press