The St. Louis Blues locked in a key part of their defense on Wednesday by signing veteran Colton Parayko to an eight-year contract extension that will pay him a total of $52 million over the duration of the deal.
That comes out to a salary cap hit of $6.5 million per season.
The contract will begin during the 2022-23 season, meaning the Blues now have one of their top defenders signed for the next nine seasons when you include the remaining year of his current contract.
He would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season without a new deal.
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Parayko has spent his entire career with the Blues and been an outstanding player for most of the past six years and played a key role in the team’s 2019 Stanley Cup championship run. He did take a bit of a step back during the 2020-21 season, but was also limited to just 32 games due to injury. Assuming he is healthy this season he should be in line for a bounce back season. He is still only 28 years old and should still have some good years in front of him, but as with any long-term contract you do have to wonder what the second half of it will look like. That is a long way off, though, and the Blues almost certainly did not want to risk losing another key member of their defense.
With Parayko now signed the Blues have three significant contracts on their defense as he joins Justin Faulk and Torey Krug. All three of them having matching $6.5 million salary cap hits for the foreseeable future.
Even with those three players signed the Blues still have some big questions to answer on defense. The loss of Alex Pietrangelo last year and the expansion draft departure of Vince Dunn this season have left some big holes on the blue line, and the team’s 2020-21 defensive performance was one of its worst in a decade. They have, to this point, done nothing to address those shortcomings. A bounceback year from Parayko would go a long way toward fixing some of it.