Born December 27, 1985 (age 26) in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Center and alternate captain of the Colorado Avalanche
Stastny is part of the second generation of a hockey dynasty. Born in Quebec City while his dad Peter was playing with the old Nordiques, his brother Yan played for many teams and uncles Marian and Anton joined Dad on the Nordiques too. He has dual citizenship between America and Canada (and elected to use America as his national team). The Stastny family story is stranger than fiction (it involves Peter and Anton being smuggled out of Czechoslovakia and Marian coming over after government officials were bribed) and has imbued this generation of Stastnys with a sense of filial duty and importance. Very nice. Stastny began his career with the USHL’s River City Lancers while he was still in high school and he made an impact: 107 points in 113 games. He had a great college career with the University of Denver, though he did not graduate. While with the Pioneers, he helped them get their second NCAA title in a row.
He opted out of the 2004 draft but went 44th overall to Colorado in 2005. They thought he’d start the season with the AHL affiliate, but a roster spot opened and he impressed then-coach Joel Quenneville enough that he got into the big show. Joe Sakic took him under his wing, continuing a cycle that started when Peter mentored Sakic while they played together. (Aww!) He even got to wear his dad’s number, 26. His rookie season was studded with accomplishments, making and breaking records, finishing second in Calder voting and the Avalanche missing the playoffs by a single point. Maybe any sophomore season would pale in comparison, but his was especially bad: scoring slump, appendectomy, injuries and flu. However, after that season, he reupped with Colorado until 2013-14. His third season was also marred by injuries that cut it short and forced him to miss his second All-Star Game. But he’s been healthier lately and even went to the ASG in 2011. He also got to play in the Olympics in 2010 and took home silver!
Reading father-son comparisons makes me happy, so here are some folks who have noted that Paul plays like Peter: Joe Sakic (played alongside both generations) and Joel Quenneville (faced Peter in his playing career), who both say that he has good hockey vision and playmaking abilities just like papa. Aww. So far this season, he’s been doing well, with 11 goals and 11 assists in 40 games so far and 16 penalty minutes. Oh, and of course I’m going to mention the fun “bang bang dance” he does with teammate and former MotD Matt Duchene after a win. Here’s to lots more bang bang dances in future!