The St. Louis Blues know what they have in number 55 on the blue line. That is likely whey they are not at all upset at his lack of scoring compared to his compatriots in 2017-18.
The St. Louis Blues are riding the wave of scoring from the blue line through almost a month and a half of the NHL season. They are the league leaders in defensive goal scoring with 17 coming from their pointmen.
With all this success, you would figure Colton Parayko would be at or near the forefront. Instead, he’s sort of in the back of the pack.
He’s not all the way in the rear, as he has more points than some of his teammates. He’s behind some odd names in terms of goal scoring though.
Alex Pietrangelo leads all the Blues scorers, as he should really, with six goals and 15 points as of writing. Amazingly, in 16 games he is almost half way to his career high of 14 goals, set just last season.
Joel Edmundson‘s four goals is already a new career high. Actually, it ties the amount of goals he scored in his first two years combined. Any extra goal will surpass his previous career totals.
Carl Gunnarsson, of all people, is lighting the lamp as well. He has three goals. That is still behind his career high, by one, but it ties him with the number scored over the past two seasons.
Robert Bortuzzo has a goal and three points this early in the season. Just for some perspective, he came into this year with eight career goals, so he’s not known for his scoring prowess.
Vince Dunn came out of the gate hot. He scored two goals early in the season and has gone a little quiet since then. He is still utilized on the power play, though, and continues to unleash shots.
Poor Nate Prosser is the only Blues defenseman yet to register a point. That’s understandable given he’s only played in one game and is not known for scoring anyway.
As far as Parayko goes, most years you would be fine with his numbers. He has one goal and five points in 16 games played. Those are respectable stats.
It’s just when your teammates are making the most of every chance they get, it makes you look a little sluggish. When Gunnarsson and Edmundson are scoring and you are not, it highlights some of the indecisiveness a little more.
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Parayko is not a bad player. He is quite good with the potential to be great. He has to figure out what his niche will be.
We all might have done the man a disservice by making those Al MacInnis comparisons. Just because someone has the strength to shoot it that hard does not mean it is in their game style to do so.
Like the comparisons, fair or not, to Brett Hull for Vladimir Tarasenko, fans were ready for a bomber from the blue line again. St. Louis had not had a true shooter from the point since MacInnis. Parayko seemed to fit the bill.
Then came the broken sticks. Now he’s caught in between choices and you hear broadcasters and writers alike talking about how the staff wants him to be more decisive. They want him to know what he’s going to do before he gets the puck.
That comes with time. We forget that Parayko is only in his third NHL season. We act like he’s a grizzled vet, but he’s still just a pup in the grand scheme.
So, overall, we should not worry too much. He’ll get his points. The question is whether the goals will come in the numbers we would like.
Parayko had nine goals as a rookie and then stepped back to four as a sophomore. Which number is closer to the reality we’ll see over his career is still anyone’s guess.
The talent is there to achieve much more. At 6’6, 230 lbs, he’s got the size to be a bruiser. He’s got the skating ability to be used as a forward. Parayko has the stick handling ability of a 5’9 player in those tight spaces. He can unleash an atom bomb from the point or pick a corner with a wrister. He seems like a complete player.
Even so, we’ve seen loads of players in the past that seemed like they had the potential and just did not live up to it. That does not seem like Parayko though.
He’s too polite and semi-bashful to ever be one of the league’s superstars. He can be one of the Blues stars though and in some circles, he already is.
Right now, he’s just not looking as good because his teammates are looking great. Five points is normal. When other guys have 15 or four goals or three goals and you don’t expect those numbers, then your normal looks below average and it isn’t.
The thing the Blues have going for them is Parayko’s game does not change. We are not going to see 15 and 20 goal seasons from Gunnarsson and Edmundson, which they are on pace for right now. They are going to have a dropoff in production, but you won’t see much change from 55.
We’d all love to see those slappers come more often. If he continues to do all the other things well, maybe we need to lay off him in that respect.
Pietrangelo is going to lead the way offenvisely. He is having a season that might earn him some hardware at the end. Parayko is still your best bet for offense after that. Like Tarasenko up front, Parayko is just more the tortoise than the hare and that’s fine.