Report: Avalanche, Stastny haven't negotiated since club made a contract offer weeks ago

June 16, 4:29 PM

The Colorado Avalanche reportedly made pending unrestricted free-agent center Paul Stastny, who will easily be the best player on the market if he goes unsigned through July 1st, a "multi-year contract offer" a couple of weeks ago according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Stastny's camp hasn't responded with any sort of counter, and the two sides have had no dialogue since.

That reported lack of dialogue is consistent with reports from earlier this month, which suggested that Stastny's camp wouldn't begin contract talks with the notoriously cost conscious Avalanche until June 20th at the earliest. Though Stastny would apparently prefer to remain in Denver, setting a late start date on the negotiation process is, obviously, a bit of a hardball posture.

The 28-year-old Stastny is an excellent two-way player who held down second-line minutes for the upstart Avalanche in the regular season, contributed 60 total points, and made the U.S. Olympic team. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Stastny played top-line minutes and led all Avalanche players in scoring.

The Avalanche are deep at the center position with the likes of Matt Duchene, Max Talbot, John Mitchell and Nathan MacKinnon signed through next season. Forward Ryan O'Reilly is also a capable centerman, although with the club electing to take the two-way ace to arbitration, O'Reilly's contract situation could get a bit tricky this summer.

The wealth of depth the Avalanche possess down the middle of their forward group aside, Stastny is clearly the best suited of Colorado's pivots to soaking up top-line assignments. If the two sides can't agree on a contract extension, it'll be a massive loss for a very young club. 

The sticking point? The Avalanche may want to cut Stastny's salary, McKenzie guesses. If that's really the case, that's a tough pitch to make to a player who is less than two weeks away from being arguably the top-player on the unrestricted free-agent market.