(Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)
The Blues will not, should not, cannot trade Colton Parayko.
The offseason can be a strange time in the NHL. Moves happen in a flurry and then there are spells of little to no news. We are in a lull. Crazy things are said in lulls.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and St Louis Blues are rumored to be in trade talks over right handed defenseman, Colton Parayko. https://t.co/ZKr7gUzqAo
— NHL Trade Rumors (@NHLTradeRumors) August 2, 2018
Let’s talk Colt .55
The Blues have built this team from the blue line out. The previous core of David Backes, Patrik Berglund, and TJ Oshie are gone and serve as a failed experiment. You can’t build a perennial winner when you aren’t building from defense.
Colton Parayko is a part of the new core of this team.
You can’t teach 102 mph slapshot, can’t teach 6-foot-6. You couldn’t build a more prototypical defenseman like Colton Parayko. Since his first game, fans have been captivated by him. Its easy to see why.
So why are these rumors gaining traction? Why are they seemingly based in a reality that we can’t shake?
Why would they trade Parayko?
Because it feels like a “Blues move”? I am from the generation that watched Bill Laurie trade Chris Pronger for Jeff Woywitka, Doug Lynch, and Eric Brewer. I am still shaken that the Blues traded Jaroslav Halak, William Carrier and Chris Stewart for Ott and the human turnstile, Ryan Miller. Oshie for Troy Brouwer… can we stop forgiving that trade based on one goal?
The defense is a plus depth category for the Blues, as Tim Hirsch outlined in his story, “The St. Louis Blues Defense“, earlier this week. They are as deep at the line as any other team in the NHL. They may be the only team that could withstand trading away an asset like Parayko. With Jordan Schmaltz (still unsigned), Mitch Reinke, and Jake Walman, the Blues have a plethora of young, promising defensemen.
That doesn’t mean you should trade Parayko.
At least on paper, for the first time in years, the Blues don’t have a secondary scoring problem. They are going to be rolling the deepest lines that our fans have seen since 2000. Their summer checklist is pretty impressive.
They have lacked for so many years a legitimate number 1 centerman. (Ryan O’Reilly)
The Blues have needed help down the middle to spread out scoring (hello to Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn being on the second line)
They have lacked the depth to slot their veterans in positive matchups (Alex Steen -Tyler Bozak- Nikita Soshnikov vs any team’s 3rd D-Pairing)
Blues have also lacked the flexibility to put their young players in positive low-pressure situations.
You can’t put together a package that equates to Parayko’s time on ice for the Blues. He is an ice hog, averaging over 22 minutes a game last year. With a diminishing role for Jay Bouwmeester this year, Parayko will be relied upon to play big minutes for this team. With those big minutes, we need to see the big man step up.
Last year wasn’t a great year for Parayko. He ended up with a +/- of -7 (sit down, I know you all hate the +/- stat). Let’s get real, he has to clean up his game. This is the year he has to shed the moniker of an upside young player and become what we know he can be, a perennial all-star. He has the shot: use it. He has the size: use it. He has the shot: use…. Did I say that before?
He is a postive Corsi player. When he is on the ice, the Blues control the flow of the play. Trades aren’t zero sum exercises: both teams are looking to get better through the trade. It’s just that there is no package of players the Blues could recieve that make them better without Parayko.