Jets’ Paul Stastny Cementing Place in Family Dynasty

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In their biggest offseason move, the Winnipeg Jets acquired Paul Stastny in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, bringing the veteran center back to the team. He had a memorable stint with the Jets in 2018 after he was acquired from the St. Louis Blues at the trade deadline. He helped the Jets reach their first Western Conference Final, picking up 13 points in 19 regular-season contests and 15 points in 17 playoff games.

Paul Stastny is back for a second stint with the Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Having turned 35 on Dec. 27, Stastny is in the twilight of a career that has lived up to the lofty reputation of his family name.

It was a little more than 40 years ago, just prior to the 1980-81 NHL season, that Paul’s father, Peter, and uncle, Anton, defected from their native Czechoslovakia and joined the Quebec Nordiques. The story of the brothers’ escape reads like the pages of a Hollywood script.

A season later, 1981-82, Anton and Peter were joined by their older brother Marian on the Nordiques. They were the first star players to defect from Europe’s communist Eastern Bloc, and the third group of three brothers to play on the same NHL team, after the Chicago Blackhawks’ Bentley brothers, and the Plager siblings in St. Louis.

Peter became the first Slovakian NHL player to have a son make the NHL when Paul’s older brother Yan suited up for Boston in 2005-06. Paul joined the Colorado Avalanche (the former Nordiques) the following season and has for the last decade and a half been one of the most reliably productive centers in the NHL.