The St. Louis Blues announced today that they have signed defenseman Colton Parayko to an eight-year contract extension worth $52 million. The deal carries a salary-cap hit of $6.5 million per year, which interestingly enough, is the same cap hit for fellow defensemen Torey Krug and Justin Faulk. Before this contract was finalized, Parayko had one year left on his previous deal, which means he will be manning the St. Louis blue line for the next nine seasons. Originally a 3rd round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Parayko has spent his entire six-year career with the Blues. Assuming Parayko plays out the entirety of his contract in St. Louis, he has a chance to be one of the longest-tenured players in franchise history.
Parayko’s Career So Far
The 6’6″ and 230-pound defenseman burst onto the scene in the 2015-16 season and has been a mainstay on the St. Louis defense ever since. While his best play has come in a shutdown role against opposing top lines, particularly alongside Jay Bouwmeester during the Blues’ 2019 run to the Stanley Cup, Parayko is no slouch on the offensive side, averaging over 30 points per year (excluding last season’s COVID-19 shortened schedule). Parayko boasts the hardest slap shot Blues fans have seen since the days of Al MacInnis and if there is one part of his play that most Blues fans would like to see improved, it would be for him to use that cannon of a shot more often. Through his first six seasons, Parayko has tallied 171 points in 418 games and at the age of 28, he is just now entering his prime, which could mean even bigger offensive years to come.
What the Deal Means for St. Louis
Locking in Parayko for the next nine seasons provides both security and identity for the Blues defense. With the aforementioned Krug and Faulk both under contract for the next six years, the “Big Three” on the backend should develop better chemistry with each other and along with goaltender Jordan Binnington locked in for the next six years, should allow the Blues to focus more on the forward group for the next several seasons. One has to wonder if this all would have been possible had GM Doug Armstrong signed Alex Pietrangelo to a contract similar to what he received from the Vegas Golden Knights. In a summer in which we’ve seen defenders sign massive deals upwards of $9 million per year, Armstrong has been able to assemble a well-rounded group all at a reasonable price of $6.5 million each.