The St. Louis Blues are known for their physicality and ability to defend the neutral zone in close games. Part of that is because of defenseman like Colton Parayko who might not be the most exciting player on the roster, but holds his own on the ice all while managing to fly under the radar.
In a rather highly criticized blue line featuring players to the likes of Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, Parayko performs consistently well despite the relative lack of recognition. This is especially impressive because he’s proving his value as just a twenty-two year old rookie.
No. 55 isn’t necessarily the most offensive defender in the Blues’ arsenal, but he’s managed to score 17 points (6G, 11A) in 45 games played this season. That’s the eighth most on the team, making the Alberta native the third most offensively productive defender.
His goal against Karri Ramo of the Calgary Flames at the middle of December was the goal of the week and for good reason. Parayko incredible skates to the front of the net, passes the puck just by the Calgary defender, and elevates the puck on the backhand to score.
That play in particular epitomizes just how skilled the young Blues defenseman is, and it certainly proves his confidence 200 feet away from his own net.
Defending the Crease
As a defender, though, protecting leads is a huge part of what Parayko does. He’s reliable in the defensive zone and feeds the offense rather well. With a plus-minus of plus-13 the twenty-two year old leads the entire Blues roster. While the stat is the combination of luck and skill it still shows the balance he has acquired in every aspect of his game.
Despite not being the stereotypical stay-at-home defender, Parayko can hold his own in his own zone, as well at the other two, which undoubtedly helps the Blues’ overall game.
For the Future
Moving forward there’s a lot of advantages to having Parayko in the line-up. He has proven his reliability in all three zones, he’s taken the time to really learn and execute St. Louis’ system, and he’s already leading the team in some regards only halfway through his rookie season.
He’s got the size, standing 6’6″, 226lbs. to really be a force in the league, but he’s also a good skater with talent on the opposite side of the ice. That’s a lethal combination considering the league seems to only be getting more physically demanding.
Colton Parayko is underrated and he might suffer from a sophomore slump, but as of right now he’s performing about as well as the Blues could hope and that’s saying a lot.