The St. Louis Blues always hope their prospects turn into good players. I’m not sure anyone knew how good Colton Parayko would be.
When the St. Louis Blues drafted Colton Parayko in the 3rd round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, they were probably just hoping for a serviceable player. While there are always gems to come out of the later rounds, usually it is a bigger hit or miss option.
It might have been in someone’s wildest dreams that Parayko would be the phenomenon he has been in two seasons. It would stretch the imagination to honestly think he’d be as good as he has been.
It would be a disservice to the player to make him out like he is the second coming of Bobby Orr. Parayko still has room to grow offensively.
He only has 68 points in two seasons. For a defenseman of his size though, that is pretty damn impressive anyway.
To average 34 points per season while playing an integral part of championship caliber teams is good for any player. To do that in your very first two years in the NHL is even more impressive.
What is even more interesting is the fact he does this while having somewhat of a pushover type of personality.
I’m not knocking the guy since there is nothing wrong with being a nice, courteous person. However, normally guys that are all yes sir, no sir, shaking hands are not long for the world of pro sports.
Parayko even folded up his towel once so the trainer would not have to do it for him. Blues color commentator Kelly Chase, along with myself and several fans, have said if the kid ever gets a mean streak, he will be unstoppable physically.
The funny thing is physicality is not his problem. His personality may be polite, but he plays with just enough edge to his game.
Nobody is sitting around saying, man I wish Parayko would do this or that. It is the offensive part of his game that can still get better.
Of course, as a young player, Parayko could still get better positionally. He still has to learn the small intricacies of the game that only come with experience, no matter how talented you are. Overall, though, he’s better than any of us could have hoped.
Circling round to the offensive part, he is still pretty darn good. He had nine goals in his rookie season and was a whopping plus-28 in that year.
His numbers did drop in his sophomore season. Only four goals and a plus-7 for the regular season was not a spectacular follow up, but his assists went up.
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On the plus side, all of Parayko’s regular season goals came on the powerplay. With the team struggling to get goals on the man advantage, that is a good sign if he can become a solid powerplay performer.
Most fans are happy with his game and production overall anyway. The main bone of contention is his shot.
Parayko has the power to be the next version of Al MacInnis. Perhaps he will never be feared as MacInnis was, but he has a cannon.
He seems hesitant to use it since his stick keeps breaking. If he develops more accuracy with his wrister that is fine, but you cannot be afraid to throw the bombs at the net now and then if that is your weapon.
What impresses me about Parayko is his skill and skating ability. If you put him on a stopwatch, he might not be the fastest skater around, but he can blow by people.
If the Blues did not need him at defense, you could almost float the idea of moving him to forward. He is that talented that you could honestly see him being a second or third line winger.
He’s too good to move up there though. He’s strong, doesn’t get beat much, works hard along the boards and makes good decisions with the puck. You would not know he’s only 24 by the way he carries himself.
The NHL is not the only one to notice either. Parayko has played tons of minutes since being called up to the Blues.
He has played 160 games in the NHL in two seasons (basically two full years). He also played with Team North America in the World Cup prior to the 2061-17 season and then in the IIHF World Championships afterward.
As long as he does not burn out, Parayko is gaining experience at the speed of a supercomputer at this point. He still has room to get stronger and better, which is scary for the rest of the league.
The only thing scary for the Blues right now is his potential contract. Personally, I don’t think he’s going to demand monster dollars, but you never can tell. Sometimes the quiet ones are the ones that get the feistiest during negotiations.
I have a hard time believing this negotiation goes south though. I think Parayko is going to be on the Blues blueline for years to come and maybe even replace Alex Pietrangelo as the team’s top defender in the future.
As far as one season, encapsulated, Parayko still had a pretty good year. Even if his goals went down, his points went up.
He is a good playoff performer. He has two goals in each of his first two playoff runs and 12 points. He has thrown 43 hits in his short playoff career and 57 blocks.
Knowing he can step up to the plate even when teams actually know to key on him is big. The sky is the limit for Parayko and he’s been out of this world to begin with.