Paul Stastny signed a contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. No terms were disclosed.
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The 32-year-old center had 53 points (16 goals, 37 assists) in 82 games with the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues last season, including 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 19 games with Winnipeg after he was acquired in a trade Feb. 26.
"You kind of see what's out there, you see what's the best fit for you and your family, and I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where there were a couple of good options, but in the end I think this one made the most sense for us," Stastny told NHL Network.
Video: Discussing Stastny signing with the Golden Knights
He had 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"The hardest thing at this time of year is you can't really pick a team that's going to be a favorite," Stastny said. "There are so many teams whether it's 16 teams that actually have a legitimate chance or 8-12 teams a year now. It's just so hard to pick. Nothing's guaranteed in this league."
Stastny said the talented roster of the Golden Knights, who defeated the Jets in five games in the Western Conference Final last season, played a big factor in his decision.
"I think for me it's that top line (Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith) that played so good together all year and throughout the playoffs," Stastny said. "Talking to [general manager George McPhee], I think he understands that there is nothing guaranteed. There are certain ideas of who I'd play with, and obviously if there's no chemistry there, you try different things, but a lot of different options there.
"They got some young guys, not too many older guys. ... It's kind of leading by example whether it's on the ice or behind the scenes when no one is looking, which is something I take pride in."
The Colorado Avalanche selected Stastny in the second round (No. 44) of the 2005 NHL Draft. The son of Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Stastny has 646 points (220 goals, 426 assists) in 824 games with the Jets, Blues and Avalanche. He has 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists) in 72 NHL playoff games.
"When you're playing against [Vegas] ... there wasn't just one thing you could pinpoint to stop them," Stastny said. "I think they play that fast, aggressive style, they make plays, from their top line all the way to their fourth line. Whether they were down in the game or up in the game, they kept playing aggressive. ... I talked to different guys that play in Vegas or guys that played for [coach Gerard Gallant with the Florida Panthers]. But for me as a playmaker, it's kind of getting the puck out from the defense there and finding the [players] who are responsible. Those guys have a lot of speed and they want the puck in their hands."
McPhee said he likes the playmaking ability and lineup flexibility Stastny provides Vegas.
"He's a really talented, skilled guy," he said. "He's a playmaker and you always want playmakers. It's hard for goal-scorers to score if they don't have playmakers. He does that. He's a real good person, good solid pro. We do like having centers. You can move centers around the lineup, you can have centers on the wing, you can't get wingers to play center."
The Jets tried to re-sign Stastny, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said.
"It was never a situation about willing to pay or do anything like that," Cheveldayoff said. "It was what we were able to do. While we offered the same term, obviously it wasn't the same money. ... I haven't had a chance to speak with Paul, but I know it was a very difficult decision for him given the length of time we talked about things.
"I don't know if there were a lot of people, quite honestly, who thought there was even a chance that we were going to be able to bring back Paul. When the season ended, we had a great conversation. He expressed his willingness and desire to, if we could make it work, come back."