Parayko, Dunn Scratched
Colton Parayko was penciled in to be the Blues’ main defenseman, so much that the team signed him to a massive five-year, $27.5 million deal in the offseason.
The investment was well worth it, in General Manager Doug Armstrong’s mind.
On Monday, Coach Craig Berube told reporters that Parayko and Dunn would not be available to the Blues when they face the Colorado Avalanche. Both players were hurt in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Avs. Parayko was evaluated on Sunday and on Monday Berube made the decision to hold him and Dunn out.
Berube said Parayko and Dunn both had upper-body injuries, the Post-Dispatch reported. Berube could not say how long either was expected to be out. Parayko left the game Saturday in the first period and did not return. That was his eighth game back after missing 21 games with a back injury. Berube said Saturday that this injury was not related to his previous one.
On Saturday, when Parayko went out, the Blues moved Justin Faulk alongside Marco Scandella. If Krug plays, the Post-Dispatch reported, he may end up alongside Jake Walman, while Niko Mikkola, a healthy scratch the last 10 games, might play with Robert Bortuzzo.
Berube went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen in Saturday’s 5-3 win, and said he was inclined to go that way again, the Post-Dispatch reported..
“I think it’s a good possibility we will do the same thing tonight,” he told the Post. “I thought it worked out pretty well. You get some of your top guys a few more extra minutes here and there, which is good, and overall, I thought the D did what they needed to do. I thought Bortz added that physical presence in the game. It was a penalty (in the opening minutes) on Landeskog, but I like the physicality part of it. I thought he did a good job, so we’ll see how it goes tonight here in warmups.”
“At 27 years old, Parayko is primed to become the Blues’ top defenseman and lead by example, namely through his physicality and missile of a slap shot, according to a story in The Hockey Writers about five Blues who need to step up this season. “Parayko has big skates to fill, but he is well on his way to becoming the mentor to younger defensemen that Pietrangelo was for him.
Historically, Parayko has not exactly been a high-volume scorer or point producer, The Hockey Writers reported last offseason. “His career-high is 35 points and in the last two seasons, one in which he played a key role on a Stanley Cup championship roster, he potted just 28. That being said, between a quarter and a third of his production has come from his points off the power play. Limiting his role there certainly reduces his chances to impact the game.”
“On top of all this though, the 6-foot-6 defender has taken himself out of games in unprecedented ways early this year,” The Hockey Writers reported. “Parayko’s 12 penalty minutes is just four short of his entire season total in 2019-20, three short of 2018-19, and one shy of his entire 82-game tally in 2017-18.”
Entering this season Parayko had an NHL career-high 35 points (four goals, 31 assists) in 81 games with the Blues last season and five points (two goals, three assists) in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He made the All-Rookie Team in 2015-16, when he scored 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) and was plus-28 in 79 games with St. Louis.
“We’re obviously pleased to have Colton signed up for five years,” general manager Doug Armstrong said when the team signed Parayko to the new deal. “We think that he’s just starting to scratch the surface on what he’s becoming in this league. He’s got two years now of service where he understands the commitment necessary, he understands the league, he understands the players. We just think he has a really strong upside and we’re excited to have him for the next five years.”
This latest injury to Parayko is the second major setback he has endured this season. earlier this year, he suffered back injury that took him out of action for 21 games. His absence was felt, as the Blues defense slid all the way to 24th in the NHL in goals allowed per game, at 3.24.
Berube said the most recent injury is not connected to the back injury from earlier this season, the Post-Dispatch reported.
In the third period against the Avs, Dunn left because of an undisclosed injury and did not return.
Now, back to full strength …
A St. Louis Blues blogger, NHL podcaster, and writer, and contributor for the STL Fan Report.