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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Is there smoke? Colton Parayko Edition

Over the past few days, both Bob Stauffer and Elliotte Friedman have linked the Oilers to St. Louis Blues defenceman, Colton Parayko, and these guys don’t usually say things like this without a reason. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but feel like we should dig in on this one a little bit.

Three days ago, Bob Stauffer tweeted out that Colton Parayko would be “the perfect right-shot D for the Oilers” which was incredibly specific for the Oilers’ colour man to say. It’s not that he’s wrong, he’s 100% right, it’s just that I don’t really remember too many instances of Stauffer pointing to specific players like this as potential trade options. Then, just last night, Elliotte Friedman got in the mix when he confirmed that Edmonton was one of the teams calling about Parayko, but that the “price would be enormous.” So what’s going on here? Could the Blues really be open to trading the guy that played the second-most minutes on their blue line behind only Alex Pietrangelo? What the hell would an “enormous” return look like? Are you as terrified/excited as I am?

First, let’s take a step back and dive into who Colton Parayko is and try to guess why his name is popping up like this.

WHO IS COLTON PARAYKO

Colton Parayko’s journey to the NHL is a really interesting story. He was passed over in his first year of draft eligibility only to be scooped up by the Blues in the third round (86th overall) in his second time around. He was one of those guys that flew way under the radar until he caught Blues scout Marshall Davidson’s eye during the 2011 season. In fact, he wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. At the time, the mostly average-sized Parayko (he was listed at 6’2″ when he started in the AJHL) was playing for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, a team that he literally paid to try out for and was reportedly the last player to make. From there, he turned his time in Fort Mac to landing a scholarship to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

After three years in Alaska, Parayko got his first taste of professional hockey, playing in 17 games with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL to close out their season. That late-season call-up proved to be fruitful for Parayko as he put up four goals and three assists for seven points to finish out the year. Those 17 games would be the only time he’d ever spend in the AHL as he cracked the Blues’ opening night lineup for the 2015-16 season and quickly moved up their depth chart, slotting in at #2 on the right-side behind Pietrangelo. Pretty good for a guy that 30 teams past on in his first year of draft eligibility. Last season, Parayko continued his progression as he averaged 18:46 for the Blues and played in all situations, including nearly two minutes on both the power play and penalty kill.

In 82 games played, Parayko put up six goals and 29 assists for 35 points. He is currently signed to a five-year contract (four years remaining) worth $27.5 million which works out to a $5.5 million cap hit. I can see why the Oilers would want him, but why would the Blues not hang up the phone any time someone brings up his name?

WHY WOULD THE BLUES TRADE HIM?

This is the part where I get confused. Why would the St. Louis Blues even think of trading Colton Parayko? He’s young, solid defensively, logs big minutes in all situations, and is signed to a reasonable cap hit for four more years. Is this just one of those things, like the Senators were apparently “doing” with Karlsson at the deadline, where they’re listening to trade offers but aren’t really shopping him? I’ve seen people say that maybe they would be open to the idea because they already have Pietrangelo slotted in as their #1 right-d but that doesn’t seem like enough of a reason for me. Injuries happen and it would certainly be nice to have a fallback like Parayko available in case anything happened. If they moved him, the next best right-handed defenceman they had in last year’s lineup is Robert Bortuzzo. Is there a prospect in their system that needs a chance or something else that I’m missing? The only thing I can think of as a reason why they’d trade him is that the return would, like Friedman said, be enormous.

From an Oilers perspective, I can’t even begin to imagine what the deal would look like but I believe Friedman when he says the return would have to be enormous. I would guess that it would have to START with something like Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom or Nuge and the 10th overall pick, which I assume the Blues would turn down. I’m guessing they would want more than that, and if that’s the case then is it really worth it for the Oilers? At some point, moving out a bunch of assets in any trade starts to look like stealing from Peter to pay Paul, ya know? Speaking of Peter, would we really be comfortable with Chiarelli being the one to make this deal if there even is a deal to be made? His bold moves haven’t exactly gone so well over the past three years and I’d be very hesitant to see him make another trade where the assets going out would have to be substantial. Small trades are cool, but the big ones make me nervous. Then again, maybe this is just another one of those Draft weekend stories that are fun to talk about but don’t really go anywhere, kinda like Cory Schneider to the Oilers a few years back.

Then again, maybe the Blues are looking to replace the hole in their grit chart that was left by the departure of David Backes. Would Milan Lucic be enough to get Parayko in a straight up deal? I mean, we have to win one of these one-for-one trades eventually, right? I keed, I keed. Regardless of what actually happens with this Parayko thing, this year’s Draft weekend could be very interesting for the Oilers considering they’re supposedly being very aggressive with their 10th overall pick. What do you guys think?

COLTON PARAYKO’S NHL CAREER SO FAR

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- PGP G A Pts PIM
2015-16 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 9 24 33 29 28 20 2 5 7 4
2016-17 St. Louis Blues NHL 81 4 31 35 32 7 11 2 3 5 2
2017-18 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 6 29 35 13 -7
NHL Totals 242 19 84 103 74 31 4 8 12 6

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