Although Colton Parayko has heard his name swirling in the rumor mill basically every offseason, the hulking St. Louis Blues defenseman has learned to block out the noise as he approaches another campaign in Missouri.
“The last few years, I've always been in the [trade talk] mix,” he told The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford last week.
“I personally never heard anything around here, but obviously people are talking. That's part of the gig. It's pro sports and people are traded and obviously where we were last year at the deadline, things are always getting talked about. I don't think much about it. This is where I want to play.”
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2019, the Blues have struggled to replicate that success, missing the postseason altogether in 2023.
That led to the departures of multiple longtime players at the NHL Trade Deadline, notably Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O'Reilly and Ivan Barbashev. All three skaters were pending unrestricted free agents, and leave St. Louis with a new-look squad heading into 2023-24.
For Parayko, his main goal is to help the team get back to the playoffs in 2024. He told Rutherford that he would “lie awake after some losses last season in an attempt to figure out why things went wrong.”
“I just want to show that I'm going to put in the effort and be the best version of myself and help out as much as possible,” the 30-year-old explained.
“Obviously it's fun to have the fans and the city behind you. They spend a lot of money to come watch us play and win hockey games, so they have the right to say whatever they feel. This is a chance to get people excited, and I guess if we're talking individually, see me play again, and hopefully I can have a good season.”
Colton Parayko will likely not be going anywhere anytime soon; he's under contract for seven more seasons at a hefty cap hit of $6.5 million AAV. The pact also includes a full no-trade clause, so if a swap did materialize, he'd have the chance to veto it.
The Canadian scored four goals and 27 points in 79 games last season, the lowest points-per-game rate of his career. He's one of multiple Blues who need to be much better if the team hopes to return to the dance in 2024.
St. Louis kicks off a new campaign on Oct. 12 against the Dallas Stars.