The Carolina Hurricanes continued their extensive lineup makeover with the signing of veteran center Paul Stastny.
The 36-year-old received a one-year, $1.5 million contract for what will be his 17th NHL season.
There were younger, faster centers available this summer, but Stastny is a consistent, durable second- or third-line option for a team that needs help on special teams and in the faceoff circle.
The addition of Stastny shores up the championship contender Hurricanes’ forward depth following winger Max Pacioretty’s Achilles tendon injury. Pacioretty is expected to miss six months, and while Stastny is far from a mirror image in terms of his style of play, he helps solve a major need that haunted the Hurricanes in the playoffs.
“We’re different players, I think, on the ice, off the ice,” Stastny, who’s coming off a 21-goal renaissance, said about Pacioretty, who has scored 30-plus in a season six times. “I always find a way to get the puck to the net, kind of time the puck. If you look at all my goals in my career, I’m sure the majority are from within 3, 4 feet of the net. You’ve got to go to the hard areas to get goals.”
The well-traveled Stastny has already played for four teams — including two stints with the Winnipeg Jets — so fitting in and finding chemistry with teammates should not be an issue for a veteran who is 16 goals shy of 300 for his career.
“My wife and I have always wanted a chance to win,” Stastny said. “It’s later in our career. We’ve been fortunate enough to play on good teams, and you come close and you realize how hard it is. Maybe it might never come. That’s all right. But as long as you give yourself a chance and you have good teams come knocking on your door and they think you’re valuable, I think that’s a risk we’re always willing to take.”
On a struggling Jets team that did not make the postseason in the Western Conference in 2021-22, Stastny managed 21 goals and 45 points, and he did so while averaging 17 minutes, 46 seconds on the ice.
He picked up a larger role after the Jets pared down their forwards, sending center Andrew Copp to the New York Rangers. That clearly helped, as he topped the 20-goal barrier for the first time since 2013-14, when he netted 25 for the Colorado Avalanche.
“Paul is an extremely reliable veteran who has been effective at both ends of the ice for his entire career,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in a statement. “He adds even more experience and leadership to our forward group, and we are excited to have him in Carolina.”
The Hurricanes have had a busy offseason. Among the moves, they traded for defenseman Brent Burns and Pacioretty and signed winger Ondrej Kase. They lost forwards Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck in free agency and traded defenseman Tony DeAngelo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.