A quick take on Stastny's extension -
A nice signing by FG I think. Some people look at Stastny's numbers and think $6.6 per is too much, but I don't think so. It's just under Kopitar's $6.8 per. The Avs were able to buy out one of his UFA years and keep the sharks from circling during any future RFA periods. Sure he'll be a bit overpaid next year, but if he continues to improve and NHL contracts continue to inflate, then this contract will probably start to look pretty good as soon as the 2010-11 season.
For the immediate future, this contract puts the Avs at about $42 mill committed for next season. Let's assume the cap goes up from this year's $56.6 to somewhere around $60 mill - this gives the Avs about $18 mill to play with next season. Hopefully Sakic comes back for another round (and the prospect of playing in the Olympics in Vancouver) - let's call that $6 mill. With that remaining $12 million the Avs will need to address their goalie situation as well as take care of RFAs Jones, McCormick and McLeod. None of those three guys are going to break the bank. Guite, Lappy and Arnason are UFAs. I can't imagine this team bringing Arnie back, so let's assume he goes. Personally, I would resign Lappy if he would take $2 mill per for 3 years. With Guite it probably depends on how this season goes, but often a guy like Guite moves on for a slightly larger salary on someone else's 4th line. Let's assume he leaves also. It looks to me like the Avs will have about $6 mill left to figure out goalies - that means some combination of resigning Budaj (who is arbitration eligible), Raycroft (UFA) or some other free agent.
The Avs would have the space to at least take a shot at a big name UFA goalie, although looking at the current crop, I don't think that's necessarily the best move. Taking a quick look at the UFA list for next summer - the only highly paid guys that interest me are Backstrom (30 yrs old) and Biron (31) - and Biron is having a tough go of it right now. The other way FG could go is to look at some cheaper UFAs with upside - two names that jump out at me are Craig Anderson and Dany Sabourin. Obviously this all depends on how the Budaj/Raycroft situation pans out - if neither has a good year, then I could see the Avs trying to get Backstrom or Biron. If one (Budaj) flourishes and this team wins a playoff series or two, then I can see them picking up a guy on the cheap (maybe even Raycroft again, remember folks, it's early) to serve as the backup. Something to chew on anyways.