Why it makes sense
Say Ryan Spooner is gone next year, which sounds very likely, the consensus replacement is Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. If JFK isn’t ready at the start of next year, signing Stafford could really help. If JFK isn’t ready and guys like DeBrusk, Senyshyn, and Bjork are, Stafford could push David Backes into the third line center role. During his career as a St. Louis Blue, Backes’ natural position was center, allowing young guys to take roles on the wing could give Backes ice-time as the third line center.
A forward core could look something like this, in the situation mentioned above:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – David Krejci – Drew Stafford
Jake DeBrusk/Frank Vatrano – David Backes – Zachary Senyshyn/Frank Vatrano
Sean Kuraly – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari
When looking at it on paper, that’s a pretty solid looking forward core that could display some high octane offense. One that also has a good balance of skill and physical presence as well. Jimmy Hayes and Matt Beleskey aren’t in the lineup, maybe one of them will be in the Vegas Golden Knights lineup next year.
They have not proven worthy of a spot in the lineup in a league that is phasing out slow guys like them and is becoming a league reliant on speed, puck movement, and skill. If JFK is ready, Drew Stafford could still play an important role on the second or third line wing, with David Backes being there as well.