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Is the real Colton Parayko back?

Has Parayko’s play been improving?

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In my opinion, it’s safe to say St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko is back; but I’m not going to hold my breath on what could be a phase for him.

If you’re a Colton Parayko fan, you’ve probably gone through the thick and thin with liking him. But, if you’re a Parayko hater, you might want to change your mind and keep an open mind to him. Here’s why.

Parayko has been injured in the past. Most recently, he suffered a back injury in mid-February 2021 and missed 21 games. He returned from injured reserve in a game against the Vegas Golden Knights on April 5, 2021. At the end of the 2020-21 season, he recorded just two goals, 10 assists, and 60 shots for his lowest totals for the first time in his NHL career since 2015-16. I don’t think we should be too hard on him because if we, too, sustained injuries in sports, we would also suffer from the injuries’ lingering effects — both physically and mentally. Let’s be better and have some patience.

As of March 6, 2022, Parayko has six goals, 16 assists, and 98 shots in 53 games so far this season. In his last five games, he has logged one goal, one assist, and 16 shots. He didn’t collect any points in Sunday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, but he skated off the ice with five shots and a +1 rating after 25:32 ice time.

I believe Parayko’s rolling at a steady pace for the time being. But, I’ll criticize him for one thing and that’s how he’s not really deserving of his eight-year, $52 million contract extension that he signed on September 21, 2021.

Don’t get me wrong, I like and respect Parayko as a player, he’s reportedly a polite and good man, and he’s one of the better defensemen on the Blues’ current roster. But he hasn’t been playing with a lot of strength like he did when he was paired with the now-retired Jay Bouwmeester in the Blues’ shutdown line. He’s not worth $5.5 million per year at the moment.

Of course, I want to see the “real” Parayko back, but that’s just what I want to see. I don’t know if he’ll pick up the pace or he’ll stay subpar this season. If I knew the future, I’d be a psychic or something like that.