The Washington Capitals could find themselves in need of a second line center if they cannot re-sign pending free agent Mikhail Grabovski. The best free agent option available at center is Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny.
The Good About Paul Stastny
Paul Stastny had a bit of a comeback season in 2013-2014. In 71 games, he had 60 points (25 goals, 35 assists), his highest total since he scored 79 points in 81 games back in 2009-2010. Stastny also had a +/- of +9, his highest rating since he was a +22 back in 2007-2008. In 2013-2014, he had a Corsi percentage of 50.2% (high relative to his teammates) and a Fenwick percentage of 50.6% (high relative to his teammates). He won 52.7% of his faceoffs. His zone start percentages (29.2% offensive zone, 36.5% neutral zone, 34.3% defensive zone) suggests that he was a pretty good all-around forward. Considering he had more faceoffs in the defensive zone than the offensive zone, his 50.2% Corsi percentage (meaning that the Avalanche outshot their opponents when Stasny was on the ice) is quite impressive. He did all of that while playing against a relatively high quality of competition.
The Bad About Paul Stastny
I have only one major concern about Paul Stastny. While Paul Stastny did have a nice 2013-2014 season, one has to wonder if this is another example of someone having a contract year. It could just be a result of having a better team around him. He put up decent stats from 2010 to 2013 despite not having much to work with.
If the Washington Capitals cannot re-sign Mikhail Grabovski, they should pursue Paul Stastny. Stastny, like Grabovski, is a two-way forward who can impact games on both ends of the ice. Even if they do re-sign Grabovski, they should still entertain the idea of signing Stastny if his price isn’t too high. Stastny is a must sign if Grabovski leaves Washington, but still an extremely nice luxury with Grabovski.