2. The Defense Can’t Be That Bad Again… Right?
Look, we all know the defense was historically bad for the Blues in 2022-23. Absolutely nothing went right for anyone on the Blues’ blue line, and many fans were calling for the Blues to tear it all to pieces.
A lot of the problems from Blues fans about the team’s defensive core trace back to the salaries many of the players are making. Watching Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, and Krug play as poorly as they did while taking up a combined $19.5 million of salary cap warrants criticism.
The thing to remember with the Blues defense, and the three aforementioned players in particular, is that general manager Doug Armstrong does not throw around $6.5 million deals to everyone.
All three players earned the right to be making as much money as they are. Krug was a Stanley Cup-winning defenseman and was the best player on the market available after it was clear Pietrangelo was not going to resign.
Krug has failed to live up to his defensive expectations and has struggled to stay on the ice for an entire season. He has already been sidelined this preseason, but he looks to be ready to go on Thursday.
Two seasons ago, Faulk looked like he could finish in the top five of the Norris Trophy conversation for the league’s best defenseman. He has been the most steady defender for the Blues since arriving in a trade from the Carolina Hurricanes. He is primed for another big season.
Speaking of big, Parayko is a curious case. The massive defenseman was a big reason why the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019. His partnership with Jay Bouwmeester was critical to the Blues’ success.
Since the retirement of Bouwmeester, the team has been searching for a full-time partner for Payarko. His long reach and booming slapshot will keep him in the Blues’ lineup. If the Blues end up moving on from him, they will spend the foreseeable future looking for a player that fits his description. He is a solid NHL defenseman.