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Why the Blues should trade Colton Parayko (and also why it’s unlikely)

Don’t actually expect them to do it, but a writer can dream.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Colton Parayko is baby shit soft. That’s why.

The exact same saying I applied to the much better defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester, applies more succinctly to the tall drink of anti-Ivan Drago water that essentially watched the Colorado Avalanche walk all over his team last night.

There’s something odd yet completely visible about Parayko’s ice mentality. He’s a forward trapped in a defenseman’s body; all he wants to do is take the puck up ice with his big height and stick-handling. Maybe that’s where he belongs. Just about everyone else on defense can perform the job better than Parayko, who likes being a statue in his own end.

How does a guy that big with a genuine wingspan get owned so often? Yeah, he helped the team win a Cup and broke Ben Bishop’s clavicle with a shot. Yes, he partied harder and later than any other Blue at OB Clark’s after the win. He’s a nice fella. Chris Pronger said he doesn’t have to change his game.

With no disrespect to a guy who would be Parayko’s worst nightmare on the ice (esp. if he tried to attack the zone), he’s wrong.

Let me ask a question: What does he do so well that an eight-year contract with a full No Trade Clause had to be handed to him? I would have given the Parayko money to Alex Pietrangelo. If Doug Armstrong has a weakness, it’s the NTC handout addiction. Before I break down why this is the main reason he most likely WON’T be traded anytime soon, let’s get into his 2021-22 season.

Before you wax poetically about Parayko’s +16 plus/minus rating, let me inform you he had a career high in giveaways last season with 53. That’s ten more than his previous season high. Ten times where Parayko just felt like handing the puck over to the opposition.

The most goals he’s ever scored in a season is 10. D-men aren’t necessarily paid to score, but it doesn’t hurt either. He tallied 35 points this past season. Is that worth his salary? He’s only 29, but a lot can change about a hockey player after he climbs into his 30s. How does he improve after such an awful playoff showing?

Here’s another fun stat grouping. In the 2018-19 playoffs, totaling 26 games, Parayko committed 15 takeaways. This postseason, in just 12 games, he gave away ten pucks. Friday night in St. Louis was a prime example. With his team back against the wall in a closely contested game that barely moved from a one-goal deficit or lead, he turned in the worst performance of his career. In 22 minutes on the ice, he was a -1 and spent two minutes in the box.

Save me the “he gives big minutes” speech. Petro also did that, and the Blues let him walk to the desert. They chose Alexander Steen in a way over David Backes, but that worked out with the former’s willingness to go to a lower line and Backes’ quick decline in Boston. But Pietrangelo wasn’t even heading on the downslope yet, and I feel like the Blues chose Parayko over him. Eight year deal with less money worked, because Parayko will never be as sharp as Pietrangelo.

The reason this probably won’t happen is, once again, the full no-trade clause. Armstrong could line up a great trade, and Parayko could axe it with the same smirk he gives referees who rush him behind the net. He could deny it. Why in the world does Dougie keep giving these guys all the control?

But he should be traded, and a good haul could be had at the moment. Other teams would see a 25-minute, big and tall excuse to give away some of their better talent. You could recoup some of the lost minutes in the deal, but St. Louis would be wise to replace Parayko in a separate signing. Use that money dedicated to him to sign a better defenseman. Give Nick Leddy and Niko Mikkola more minutes and responsibility. I bet Scott Perunovich would like more minutes.

I’m sure this will divide Blues fans. People will call me the stupidest man in St. Louis for thinking about trading a guy who looked like a brick shithouse when he showed up, before we all found out it was really an IKEA facade. He’s weak, soft, harmless, and still unsure of what kind of defenseman he wants to be.

I wish that transformation would take place elsewhere. The Blues won’t win another cup with Parayko eating 22-25 minutes per game. Fact. Thanks for reading and tip your writer with a share if you don’t hate the commentary.