The St. Louis Blues preseason is almost here, as Training Camp has officially kicked off. It is also time for us to take a look at some of the players and what can be expected of them. Of the St. Louis Blues defensemen, the expectations for Colto Parayko are large.
While the expectations for Colton Parayko may be pretty large, the expectations are warranted. Colton Parayko is a player that surprised everyone in his first season. He was a force for a team that finally got over the proverbial hump in the playoffs and was on the brink of taking that next step towards a championship. He posted incredible numbers as he scored nine goals and tallied 24 assists.
While most of Parayko’s accumulative stats have gone up (shots, minutes, blocks, hits, takeaways, giveaways, etc). His effectiveness has decreased over the last two seasons. His shooting percentage has decreased as his shots have gone up and goals have decreased. The best way to show this is to look at a stat that measures a player’s overall effectiveness as opposed to their cumulative stats. If you are familiar with advanced metrics in baseball think stats like WAR, wRC+, OPS+, ERA+, FIP.
Thankfully there are stats like this for hockey players as well. The first statistic I want to look at is point share or PS. Over the course of the 2015-2016 season, Colton Parayako accounted for a PS of 8.8. For reference, this past season 8.8 was the exact same PS that guys like John Tavares, Torey Krug, and Evgeny Kuznetsov put up last season.
For more perspective, in 2015-16 Parayko was second to only Vladimir Tarasenko in PS that season. In 2016-2017 he was the third best skater, but behind Jake Allen as the fourth best player overall. In 2017-2018 Parayko was the Blues fifth best skater in PS and seventh total as he was behind both Carter Hutton and Jake Allen.
A player with the talent profile that Parayko has should a top point producer from the blue line and it seems as if Parayko is timid at times. While the shots were up this season, it didn’t seem as if Parayko was confident in his shot at times this past season. While the trend has been set for Parayko he’s still not even 26 years old yet. I am confident that the Blues made the right decision to keep him this past offseason as is Jason Martin of Bleedin’ Blue.
Colton Parayko has that 100+ MPH shot and like a pitcher that can throw 100 MPH+ that brings a lot of promise for a player. Just like a pitcher has to be able to throw strikes, Parayko has got to work on getting that shot on goal or towards the goal where a teammate could tip it on goal.
Lou Korac spoke with Parayko about the offseason and his plans moving towards the coming season and Parayko had this to say about his play this past season,
“I’m definitely not happy, I don’t think I should ever be happy where my game is just in the sense that I always want to continue to get better. I always want to improve as a player no matter what areas. As you go through a season, you kind of learn different things and you see where you want to improve and things like that.”
When asked about his expectations for camp and the preseason, Parayko said this,
“I feel really good with the workouts and I’ve been skating five days a week. Everything seems to be going real well. I am looking forward to getting back and just being through it for three years now, you kind of get a sense of what you need to do and where you need to be. This is the one I feel best going into for sure. It should be good.”
Look, I hate to put lofty expectations on a young guy like Parayko. He needs to be more of a contributor offensively than what we have seen from him already. He’s a special kind of talent and I believe Todd Panula of Bleedin’ Blue says it best, “The Blues need Parayko to develop into someone that can be a force from the blue line, whether at even strength or the power play.”
In terms of PS, he should be at the very least neck and neck with Alex Pietrangelo who has posted PS totals above 9.0 the past two seasons. I believe that when you take into account his potential offensive production and some defensive improvement, Parayko could easily post a 9.0 PS or higher this coming season. It’s going to take some work, but I believe it’s attainable for the big guy.
I think the #1 thing for Parayko is to establish his identity this season. If he wants to become more physical become more physical. However, if that’s not his game, I don’t want him playing out of his comfort zone and not playing focused.
Ultimately, for this to be a successful season for Parayko, he has to pass the 40 point threshold and maybe even inch closer to 50 points. Parayko has the potential to be a very good if not great defenseman and I sincerely hope he makes a giant leap towards that level this season.
Thanks for reading! Hope you are all as excited about the upcoming season as I am! Let’s Go Blues!