Colton Parayko loving his life in St. Louis, and there are plenty more years ahead with Blues

If you were at Lindenwood’s first home Division I hockey game on Friday and thought the guy watching the Lions play Air Force from the Zamboni gate at Centene Community Ice Center looked a lot like Blues defenseman Colton Parayko it is, of course, because it was.

“It was good,” said Parayko, who played college hockey at Alaska-Fairbanks. “A lot of people there. Just wanted to go see what it was all about. Takes me back to the good old days of DI hockey and we played Air Force four or six times probably in my career, so it’s kind of cool just to relive a little memory.”



Colton Parayko competes in a University of Alaska game versus Western Michigan in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was the championship game of the 2013 Brice Alaska Goal Rush Tournament. Paul McCarthy/University of Alaska


Of course, seeing Parayko at a hockey game, whatever the level, may not seem odd, but Parayko seems to turn up at all sorts of sporting events. He was at two of the three events at World Wide Technology Raceway this summer, seeing the Indy cars and the drag races but missing NASCAR. (Parayko did laps before the IndyCar race at World Wide with Indy 500 champ Marcus Ericsson; he still was talking about it at the start of training camp.) Golf tournaments, college basketball and football, Cardinals games. Hopefully you didn’t sit behind him at the Fox Theater — he’s listed at 6 feet 6.

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Colton Parayko has embraced St. louis He bought a house here just before his fourth season with the Blues and now he is starting his eighth season. And he’s not going anywhere.

This is the first year of his eight-year contract extension, which runs through 2030, so unless he gets injured or waives his no-trade clause (he’s got full no-trade protection for the next six seasons, then can specify a 15- team no-trade list in the final two seasons), he’s going to be even more a fixture on the local landscape than he already is.

“I just like watching live sports in general,” he said. “I think it’s just kind of fun. I like the crowds and it’s cool to see teams bringing people together and events bringing people together. I don’t know. Just like seeing different things. It’s cool to watch and see what these events are about and getting appreciation for everything. … From shows to sports, I want to try to enjoy everything St. Louis has to offer.”

The Blues’ game on Wednesday in Seattle will be No. 500 in Parayko’s career. He’ll be the seventh Blues defenseman to reach that mark, and barring injury he’ll be third on the career Blues list sometime in the 2023-24 season. It will take a bit longer to catch Barret Jackman, who holds the team record for defensemen at 803, but that easily falls within the life of the contract.



Dallas Stars 3, St.  Louis Blues 2

Blues defenseman Colton Parayko is congratulated after scoring in the first period of a game against Dallas on Feb. 8, 2020, in St. louis


Christian Gooden, Post-Dispatch


Parayko is 29, and Blues fans have seen him grow up before their eyes. He came to the team in 2015, a virtual unknown who the Blues had taken with the 86th pick in the 2012 draft, taken behind Jordan Schmaltz and Mackenzie MacEachern. He finished his college career, played 17 games with the Blues AHL farm team and then burst out the following training camp, immediately grabbing a spot on the Blues’ roster and has been a fixture there ever since.

Among Blues defensemen, Parayko, still is a relative youngster, younger than Nick Leddy, Torey Krug, Justin Faulk, Marco Scandella and Robert Bortuzzo. But he is, no doubt about it, now a veteran. He is entering his third season as one of the team’s alternate captains, and only Vladimir Tarasenko has been playing with the team longer.

“As you see new guys trickle in,” Parayko said, “some of the younger guys kind of start asking some questions and stuff and just being able to guide them with the kind of things that you needed to know, a little guidance on your way in and stuff like that. You’ve been through it enough times now that you can kind of lead them in the right direction, kind of show them the ways that you were taught growing up as a Blue and hopefully pass on those traits to the guys coming in to continue to have success.”

Of course, there are problems that come from getting older. Back problems impacted Parayko’s play for much of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. His numbers started to bounce back up last season and he says he now feels the best he has in a long time after what he admits were a “couple of tough” seasons. His offensive numbers also perked up last season with six goals and 29 assists as he matched his career high in points.

“I thought he had a hell of a season last year,” coach Craig Berube said. “If you look at his stats, no power-play time or very little, he still produced probably as many points as he had in the past. … He’s always a good defender, when he’s aggressive and using his feet, and his long reach he’s a hard guy to play against. ”

The threat of Parayko’s shot always is dangerous; he uncorked two slapshots at the end of the first period Saturday that left two Columbus defenders in pain. (“As much as he can tee it up and shoot it, he should,” Berube said.) But defense is the most important thing from Parayko now. Faulk and Krug will run the power-play units and be the scoring threats, while Parayko and Leddy will draw the opponents’ top line. Berube thinks the return of Leddy to be Parayko’s regular partner will improve his defensive play.

As long as Parayko has been in St. Louis, he may just be at the halfway mark. He has played here seven seasons and right now, he has eight more to go.

“Eight more to go. Crazy,” he said. “That’s a long time. That’s a lot of years. So we’ll see. … I would love to be here for as long as possible.”

Colton Parayko is hooked on INDYCAR.

And this time, he came back to World Wide Technology Raceway for a few laps with Marcus Ericsson in the Honda Civic Type R.

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Colton Parayko’s career stats

st. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube gives a press conference after the Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Video courtesy of the St. Louis Blues



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