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The St. Louis Blues and 24-year-old defenseman Colton Parayko came to terms on a five-year, $27.5 million contract extension on Thursday, the day of their scheduled arbitration hearing. It carries an average annual value of $5.5 million.
One could easily understand why the Blues would want to avoid that hearing, as trying to dig up negatives on one of the best young defensemen in hockey – and, some feel, the best defenseman in St. Louis – would require a TMZ-level of mudslinging. There’s not much bad to say about him.
In two years, Parayko has 13 goals and 55 assists in 160 games. His time on ice jumped to 21:12 last season, and his numbers didn’t suffer: He had a 51.1 percent Corsi, playing most of his minutes as the better half of a pairing with Joel Edmundson.
According to the Post-Dispatch, the Blues submitted offers of $3.4 million and $3.6 million for each of two years. Parayko wanted one year at $4.85 million. So rather than risking that one-year bridge moving the bar up on a longer-term deal next summer, the Blues closed him at $5.5 million over five years.
One could argue that, after just two seasons, the Blues are already getting incredible value here, let alone three or four years into this deal. He was No. 14 in the NHL last season in individual Corsi per 60 minutes (12.98), ahead of Roman Josi (12.79), right there with Aaron Ekblad (13.19) and in sniffing distance of Erik Karlsson (13.48). (We imagine he smells of hair products and success.)
Parayko, who will be unrestricted when this contract is over, carries the same cap hit next season as Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyson Barrie, Justin Schultz, Nick Leddy and Jeff Petry. We’d argue he’s demonstrably better than all but the first name on that last. It’s inarguable that he’s younger than all of them.
He’s making slightly more than the contract Hampus Lindholm signed last season with the Anaheim Ducks, carrying a $5,205,556 annual value.
There’s a lot to love here with this deal for the Blues, because there’s a lot to love about Parayko:
At the five-year anniversary of the Shea Weber offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers, it’s interesting to see a young defenseman opt not to work the system. There would have been a market for him as an RFA, no doubt. Hell, the Toronto Maple Leafs probably had a van parked outside his house since May.
But he wasn’t eligible for an offer sheet because he filed for arbitration, and the Blues accepted it. That was one level of commitment from Parayko. Agreeing on a deal that gives the Blues stability and flexibility like this one is another. GM Doug Armstrong has to be thrilled with this. So should St. Louis fans.
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