St. Louis Blues Colton Parayko Is Seizing His Opportunities


St. Louis Blues rookie defenseman Colton Parayko has been making the most out of his opportunities this year. A flurry of injuries for the Blues and quality play from Parayko have helped him establish his name in St. Louis just six games into his NHL career.

Center Robby Fabbri was the Blues rookie getting all the attention to start the season. Fabbri’s only shot in his first NHL game was good enough to be the game winning goal (watch it here). Unfortunately, Fabbri was concussed in the second game of the season and has not played since.

Parayko used Fabbri’s injury as a chance to prove the Blues have more than one good rookie this season. In the third game of the season Parayko collected his first two NHL goals. The first was on a power play and the second was the eventual game winner.

It was good that Parayko chose that game to prove his offensive prowess, because All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would leave the game with an injury. Shattenkirk is one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL. In 56 games last year, Shattenkirk collected 44 points including 25 on the power play.

Within the first three games of the season the Blues had lost their best offensive defenseman and a center widely considered to be the best rookie on the Blues. This was the perfect storm for Parayko.

With Shattenkirk out of the lineup, Parayko moved up to the second defensive pairing and has gotten more power play time. An increased role for Parayko right when Fabbri goes out for an unknown amount of time was just what the defenseman needed.

Despite not tearing up the score sheet so far this season (aside from those two goals his only other point was a powerplay assist in Winnipeg on Sunday), Parayko has shown his offensive potential in other ways.

Parayko’s two goals against the Calgary Flames let us know a couple of things about the twenty-two year old defenseman’s wrist shot. His first goal showed the world just how much power Parayko can get on a wrist shot (watch the video below). His second goal wasn’t as strong or clean, but it did highlight just how quickly Parayko can release the puck (

video here


Parayko’s wrist shot has such a quick release and enough power behind it to guarantee he will be getting on the score sheet for years to come. Fortunately for the Blues, Parayko’s wrist shot is not the only threat that he brings to the blue line.

Parayko has a slap shot that scares people. Seriously, if players on the opposing team are not afraid of Parayko’s slap shot yet, they will be before the end of the year. I saw a comparison recently that was too perfect to not pass along. User Story_Worm posted this picture to the St. Louis Blues subreddit with the caption “Found a picture of Parayko as a kid.”

For those of you that have not watched The Mighty Ducks, the picture above is the character Fulton Reed. Fulton has a slap shot that is hard enough it makes people jump out of the way. Unfortunately that power does not come with accuracy so Fulton rarely hits the net.

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That is where this comparison really hits home. Parayko has a lethal slap shot, but he can not seem to place it yet. In the six games so far this season Parayko has no goals from his slap shot, but he has shown flashes of what it can offer. In Vancouver, Parayko’s slap shot missed the goal, but it was strong enough to break the glass. Parayko followed that up with a slap shot so hard on Sunday that Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was down on the ice in pain after blocking it.

I’m personally jumping on the Parayko train solely for his offensive potential, but you can’t talk about a defenseman and never mention his defense. I am normally a big fan of statistics and I would list them all off right now, but I think one of Parayko’s plays early in this season speaks louder than any numbers.

On Sunday in Winnipeg it looked as if there was going to be a showdown between Blues goalie Brian Elliott and Jets forward Blake Wheeler. Wheeler was in on a breakaway and it looked like no one was going to catch him. No one told Parayko that Wheeler was getting away though, because the Blues defenseman chased down Wheeler and used a great poke check to break up the play. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a video of the play, but this sheer dedication and effort is what the Blues need from their defensemen.

Parayko may not be a shutdown defenseman who will always be covering for breakaways (although he is off to a good start). His offensive numbers may not be that glamorous to start the season (he is on pace for 42 points this year). Through his first six NHL games Parayko has taken every opportunity to show the world what type of player he can be in the NHL. If you need a skater who can play lock down physical defense on one end of the ice and still get into the right spots for shots on the other end, Parayko is your man.

Parayko’s slap shot is more than enough reason to keep an eye on him. At this point it almost feels like Parayko doesn’t want us to just keep an eye on him. His all around play makes it feel like he is demanding the hockey world start paying attention to his name. While this is a year of big name rookie forwards, (McDavid and Eichel specifically) Parayko is doing his best to make sure the young defensemen get noticed too.

Next: St. Louis Blues Kevin Shattenkirk Remains Out

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