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Avs 20th Anniversary Team: Paul Stastny

by Samantha Poulos / Colorado Avalanche

ColoradoAvalanche.com profiles the players named to the Avalanche's 20th Anniversary Team.

The Stastny name is a popular one in the record book of the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche.

Peter Stastny, a decade-long member of the Nordiques, and his son Paul, an eight-year member of the Avalanche, along with Peter’s brothers Anton and Marian, are frequently listed in the franchise’s annals for their contributions to their club’s success.

So when it came time to vote for the Avalanche’s 20th Anniversary Team, fans in Denver didn’t leave a Stastny off the list. Paul Stastny was bestowed the honor of being one of the 12 forwards named to the roster.

“With the history and everything, playing with some of those guys and looking up to them, just to be part of that club is pretty cool,” Stastny said of the honor. “To be voted in by the fans, I’m sure they are people with hockey knowledge, so it feels special. It’s greatly appreciated.”

Due to commitments with his current club, the St. Louis Blues, Stastny was unable to attend the pregame ceremony honoring the 20th Anniversary Team on Dec. 7, 2015. But the center did get a chance to play at Pepsi Center three times during the 2015-16 season, a locale he always looks forward to visiting.

“I know a lot of people here, whether its media guys, trainers or people around Pepsi Center. It’s always good to be back,” Stastny said during a visit in January. “I’ve got a lot of buddies here. This is our home in the summertime, so it’s just like going to another home.”

Stastny was Colorado’s second-round (44th overall) selection at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, and he was a standout member of the University of Denver Pioneers for two years prior to that.

In his first professional season (2006-07), he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team after scoring 78 points (28 goals and 50 assists) in 82 games. Stastny went on to post five additional 50-plus point seasons with the Avalanche from there.

Before Matt Duchene tallied 20 points (11 goals and nine assists) in November, Stastny was the last Avs player to record that many marks in any month when he notched 20 points in March 2010.

During the 2012-13 season, Stastny served as an alternate captain for Colorado alongside Gabriel Landeskog. He held another leadership role that year as well, when he captained the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

Despite joining the Blues at the start of the 2014-15 season, the Quebec City native still ranks prominently in the Avalanche’s record books. He sits ninth in scoring (458 points), goals (160), assists (298), power-play goals (47) and eighth in game-winning goals (24) in just 538 games played.

Reflecting back on his time with the Avs, Stastny said he enjoyed his eight seasons and admitted he was honored to take the ice with some of the franchise’s best.

“My first NHL game, first playoff game. There’s a lot,” he said of some of his favorite memories from the Mile High City. “I also got to play with some special players in Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote.

“It’s more about hanging out with those guys. The first couple of years we had an older team, but I think we got along really well away from the ice. Those plane rides are always memories I will have.”

Peter continues to play a large role in his son’s hockey career, offering advice and words of wisdom to the 10-year veteran. Paul said he welcomes the dialog any chance he gets.

“He enjoys watching as much hockey as he can now that he’s retired, and he always gives advice,” Paul said of his father. “I think he wants the best out of me and best out of my team. It’s that constructive criticism that sometimes is tough to hear. But it’s the little things that when you play so many times, sometimes you get lackadaisical on certain things, and you need somebody to kind of just refresh your mind and tell you what to do.”

Peter is one to listen to, especially with 15 years in the NHL under his belt. He still ranks fifth in franchise games played (737), second in points (1,048) and assists (668) and third in goals (380).

The younger Stastny has followed in his father’s footsteps in many ways during his playing career, including representing their respective countries at the Olympics and skating in multiple NHL All-Star Games.

“I think he’s my biggest influence,” Stastny said of his role model. “He’s someone I look up to for advice, whether it’s hockey or away from hockey. I think he’s just a role model in life in general. We have similar personalities, and he sees a lot of himself in me. I think he understands sometimes what I’m going through just because he went through that at one time in his life, whether earlier in his career or later.”

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