Colton Parayko to the Oilers?

Mar 30, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Taylor Raddysh (11) go for the puck during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Taylor Raddysh (11) go for the puck during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

There are a lot of good reasons to make this trade.

Parayko is a local boy (well, local enough, St. Albert) so he’d probably be overjoyed to come home and play for a Stanley Cup contender with his hometown team – just like Mark Messier did years ago in the 80s. For the record, Parayko does have a NTC in his contract but it doesn’t kick in until 2028.

On paper at least Parayko is a slam dunk upgrade on Cody Ceci despite his bad +/- last season which we can probably chalk up to playing on a bad team as he was one of 10 players who finished on the wrong side of the ledger.

It’s worth noting that just two seasons ago when St. Louis was a better team that Parayko finished with a +16, the third-best mark of his career. The Blues also made the playoffs that year and he finished 2-3-5 in 12 playoff games for St. Louis – pretty good and certainly beats Ceci’s mark from this season of 0-1-1 in 12 games – yes I know they’re different player types so don’t bother pointing that out.

Ceci finished at +11 this year, so not only is Parayko a comparable defender when he’s on his game, but his offensive ceiling is higher too – Parayko’s ceiling as a puck-moving defender is 35 points, which for the record he tied just two seasons ago.

Ceci is a bit different as he’s evolved into a stay-at-home guy who can produce secondary offence. Ceci produced a comparable amount of offence as he produced 28 points just two seasons ago, which he did in an Oilers uniform and that was a new career high for him – but considering his point totals have fallen to 15 points this season – almost in half from the season before, even for a stay at home guy that’s a tough pill to swallow.

The other warm body deserves some mention as well. I have no objection to Brett Kulak as a player, but let’s face it, at $2.75 million he’s overpaid to play in the bottom pairing. Yes, he lost his spot when the Oilers traded for Mattias Ekholm and rightly so – you don’t trade for a player of that calibre and then play him on the bottom pairing, that’s a waste of $6 million in cap space.

The Oilers should be able to easily replace Kulak with a cheaper option as an outside hire in free agency or simply give Philip Broberg more of a regular spot (whether that’s wise or not is up for debate at this point in time). It’s worth noting that Kulak is unlikely to dislodge Ekholm from his roster spot anytime soon so it might be better to trade him to a team with depth that isn’t as good… St. Louis.

Parayko is also bigger than Ceci – 6’6″ and 228 lbs vs. 6’2″ and 210 lbs so this trade would inject more size into the lineup, not a bad thing especially come playoff time.

Although Parayko doesn’t play on St. Louis’s PP, he does play on the first PK unit as does Ceci so the replacement on special teams is ready-made. But, he should at least be an option for the second unit PP here in Edmonton as it would be hard to ignore the firepower of a guy who can put up 35 points a season at mostly evens. For the record Parayko played 1:55 per game on the PK, good for second on the Blues last year. Even though he’s not a regular on the Blues PP, he did spend 37 seconds a game there on average last season.

There’s also the appeal of giving Connor Mcdavid and Leon Draisaitl another weapon on the back end. A first pairing of Nurse-Parayko would be a very good one from a puck-moving perspective and on paper at least would be a difficult one to stop. Put them on the ice with Mcdavid and/or Draisaitl and the top end of the roster becomes that much harder on the opposition.

He can also eat minutes at a similar rate to Ceci as he finished second on the Blues in average TOI with 23 minutes a game even, compared to Ceci’s 20:08. Plunking a guy like Parayko at the top of the roster who’s used to munching minutes against tough competition with huge potential to produce more offence than Ceci has great appeal.

Parayko knows how to use his size too, as he finished sixth on the Blues last season in hits with 115 and led the team in blocked shots with 144.

How many of you think this team could always use another fantastic shot blocker? I certainly do.

More evidence showcasing his defensive prowess? Parayko had 49 giveaways last year for St. Louis, good enough for third on the team (bummer) but it’s worth mentioning he had 59 takeaways, good enough for second on the team in that category.

I’m willing to bet with a better roster around him the giveaway number goes down.

Then there’s also the fact that Parayko is a Stanley Cup winner so he knows what it takes to win – and he put up 12 points in the 26 playoff games the Blues played that year.