Find out why Stastny vs. Kesler is a split decision cage match….
This battle features Paul Stastny vs. Ryan Kesler. While this isn't the marquee match-up it might've been a few years ago, fantasy leagues are won and lost as much by the performance of guys like them as they are by those at the top of your line-up. With that in mind, we'll figure out who has more left in the tank, and whether either is still a good value to own.
Career Path and Contract Status
Despite having a father and two uncles who combined for over 2000 career NHL points, and himself posting superb numbers in his first season of college hockey, Stastny wasn't grabbed until the 2nd round (44th overall) by the Avs in 2005. That put him in the position – and pressure cooker – of playing for the same franchise as his successful family members, which he compounded by wearing his father's #26.
Everything went great at first, with Stastny joining the Avs in 2006 at age 20 and posting 254 points in 274 games. But then came two step-back campaigns, amounting to 110 points in 153 games. And although he rebounded with 60 points in 71 games last season, there were whispers that his production uptick stemmed from his impending UFA status.
Kesler was a Vancouver first rounder (23rd overall in 2003) who had a 28 game NHL cameo that same season, before getting additional AHL time during the 2004-05 lockout. Once back with the Canucks, Kesler was by no means an immediate star, going from 23 points in 82 games, to 37 in 80, to 59 in 82, then to 75 in 82 for 2009-10.
But while his ascent to fantasy stardom was slow, his fall from being a top guy was quicker. After 73 points in 82 games in 2010-11, his next two full seasons saw him play 154 games and post just 92 points, culminating in the now 30 year old Kesler being dished to the Ducks in July 2014 as the centerpiece of a trade that also resulted in Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa coming to Vancouver.
Stastny is on year one of a four year UFA contract with an AAV of $7M per season, while Kesler earns $5M annually on a deal that ends after next season.
Ice Time (this and other tables reflect games through February 9th)
Both players are in their first season on new teams, having spent their e