Rumours persist that perhaps the Oilers might be trading for RD Colton Parayko. As I’m sure we’re all aware by now, the Blues had a terrible season last year, finishing 23rd in the league and sixth in the Central division – only Arizona and Chicago, two prominent lottery teams – finished worse in the division than St. Louis.
Trading Vladimir Tarasenko to the Rangers and Ryan O’Reilly to the Leafs around the deadline shows an obvious wish to rebuild the team.
The Oilers haven’t poached anyone significant from the Blues yet – unless you count Klim Kostin as significant which I don’t.
Parayko could be the first guy. He put up 4-23-27 in 79 games last year on that lousy St. Louis team, the 27 points being the second-worst mark of his career. Most of all, he finished with a career-low -19 last season – again, on a lousy St. Louis team.
So why would the Oilers think about obtaining him?
Because the GM’s main job is to make the team better, and if Parayko will make your team better and you can pull off a reasonable trade, then it’s Ken Holland’s job to at least think about pulling the trigger on the trade. Not to mention that if the Oilers are indeed still interested in Erik Karlsson, it’s worth noting that Parayko is still less of a risk defensively than Karlsson, who finished -26 on a lousy San Jose team – and yeah he had 101 points last year which is phenomenal for a defenceman, but he’s well known as an extremist puck mover who is terrible in his own end but is one of the few players who might be able to outscore his mistakes.
Is that better? I’m not convinced of that, especially considering all the crazy wheeling and dealing you’d have to do to fit his $11.5 million contract into our cap.
Anyway, getting out of the hypothetical and back to the real, the million-dollar question is would Parayko be better than the incumbent in the roster spot, Cody Ceci? That’s a question that I can’t answer but will attempt to lay out the facts.
What would the trade look like?
The Oilers don’t have the cap space to trade for Parayko without sending enough warm bodies out the door and Ceci and Kulak are really the only two guys you can send out as they’re the most expendable guys on the roster and those two players combined would equal $6,000,000 in cap space. That should get the Oilers up to a point where they can ask St. Louis to keep a minimal amount of cap space for the rest of the contract (which for the record is even less than the NHL minimum salary).
Since Parayko struggled last season the conditional second-round pick is an acknowledgement of that but if Parayko succeeds here as expected then that’s when St. Louis gets the first-round pick they’d likely want. If Parayko’s previous season proves to be his new normal then a second-round pick is fairer compensation.
St. Louis’s sixth-round pick is simply a sweetener and copies what Holland pulled off in the Ekholm trade with Nashville. The Oilers third rounder goes to St. Louis as compensation for the retained salary.
Let’s look closer at this trade now.