The St. Louis Blues have signed defender Colton Parayko to an eight-year contract extension worth $52 million. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $6.5 million and will kick in at the start of the 2022-23 season. Parayko will play the 2021-22 season on the last year of his 5-year, $27.5 million contract that came with a $5.5 annual cap hit.
The 28-year-old Parayko has been a member of the Blues since the team drafted him 86th overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He’d join the Blues NHL roster during the 2015-16 season and very quickly looked like he had the makings of a top-pairing NHL defender. At 6 foot 6 and 230 pounds, Parayko’s size was always going to be appealing to NHL clubs. Having a large frame doesn’t necessarily mean a player will develop into a good NHL player, though. In the case of Parayko, the ability to do a good drive driving offense while being a stifling defensive contributor coupled with his size meant the sky was the limit for his potential.
With a back injury lingering, Parayko’s play has seemingly dropped off considerably over the past two seasons. While he’s still a good defender, it’s tricky to navigate large nine-year commitments to a player who already seems to be on the decline. The deal will keep him under contract until he’s 37 years old and that’s alarming on the surface. The hope, however, is that Parayko’s back will be healed and he can return to form for the majority of this contract.
It’s a big “if” to work with, but Parayko’s ceiling is worth significantly more than $6.5 million annually and the Blues are taking the gamble on the last two seasons being the exception rather than the rule. For the Blues, the risk may not even have been as expensive as it could have been either given the huge contracts handed out to defenders this offseason. Some of the bigger deals for defenders signed this offseason included Darnell Nurse’s eight-year, $74 million extension, Zach Werenski’s six-year, $57.5 million extension and Seth Jones’ eight-year, $76 million extension.
In the end, both parties felt this was a good match for everyone.
Parayko Excited to Remain With Blues
Parayko himself was very excited to sign this deal and remain in St. Louis.
“I can’t wait to wear the Blue Note for another nine years,” Parayko said of his new contract. “St. Louis has been my home now for six seasons, and this is where I want to be. All the relationships I’ve gained, the teammates I’ve had, and the organization have all had a big impact on me. Winning here in 2019 was special, and I want the chance to stay here and do that again.”
As Parayko would mention, he’s already reached the mountain-top and won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Blues. Spending his entire career with one team and potentially competing for another Championship while having the financial security this contract offered him seemed like a no-brainer at this point of his career.
This contract gives Parayko an identical cap hit to his teammates in Torey Krug and Justin Faulk who both signed seven-year, $45.5 Million contracts with the Blues. He’ll remain a focal point of the defensive core in St. Louis for years to come alongside those two as the Blues look to return to Stanley Cup contention next season after being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.