St. Louis Blues: Colton Parayko Showing He’s A Top Defenseman

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 12: Chris Kunitz
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 12: Chris Kunitz /

The St. Louis Blues were hoping they had made a good pick when they drafted Colton Parayko. It’s hard to imagine they knew exactly how good he’d be though.

The St. Louis Blues always hope they are getting a good player with each draft selection. Nobody makes a pick thinking this guy is going to be a bust or might just fill out our minor league team.

The flip side of that argument is that you can never tell how these things will work out. It’s hard to imagine the Blues thought a third round pick would ascend to the level he has.

In only his third season in the NHL, Colton Parayko is showing that he is more than capable of being a top-pairing defenseman. He’s proved it the last couple games.

Due to an injury to Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues have used Parayko on the top pairing the last two games. With the captain out for at least three more games, we are likely to see that continue.

More from Analysis

Fortunately, Blues fans do not have to worry. Parayko is getting the job done.

He’s set new personal records for minutes played each of the last two games. He had a point against Buffalo and was on the ice for all three goals scored too.

Now, unfortunately, you do have to cancel that last statement out a little since he was on the ice for all three goals against by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, other than both he and Joel Edmundson not finding the back-door man on the first goal, you cannot fault him too much.

Is Parayko as good as Pietrangelo? It’s too early to make that comparison, simply because Pietrangelo is at the stage in his career where very little surprises him and he’s built up that hockey sense. Parayko is still going mostly on reaction.

However, based on pure skill, Parayko might be on par if not slightly better. He’s an incredible stick handler.

At 6’6, 230 lbs, he moves around like he’s 5’10. He slips through small spaces, but has the strength to bully in there and win board battles as well.

He’s shown a good sense of where pucks are going too and an ability to get in the lanes. Only Edmundson and Pietrangelo have more blocked shots.

Parayko still makes mistakes, like any human being. He’s only 24 though and even the best defenders in the world make mistakes.

But based on his play and skill, he’s a top-two defender right now. The only reason the Blues should not play him with Pietrangelo is to keep balance between the right handed players and the lefties.

Parayko’s faults are there, but still nothing you feel is a true detriment to the team. His biggest drawback is that he is hesitant to unleash a shot that is likely to be clocked at triple-digits.

Next: Look To The Blackhawks For Proof That Jordan Kyrou Can Be An NHL Player

The shot thing is partially on fans. When we heard 100 mph, we all had visions of the next Al MacInnis, but that’s as unfair as comparing Vladimir Tarasenko to Brett Hull. They’re all different players with vastly different personalities – though Parayko is closer to MacInnis than Vlady is to Brett.

The thing that should make fans pleased is that he can step right into that top role and not feel out of place. By no means should we say the Blues are just as well off without Pietrangelo, but at least that’s one position that the next guy in is not a step down.

With so many injuries happening, you need that kind of depth. Parayko is more than just depth. He could very well be the man on the blue line for this team by the time his career hits its full stride.