Blues’ Colton Parayko ready for increased role after signing big contract

Watch as Colton Parayko waits out Pekka Rinne to beat him five-hole and get the Blues on the board.

St. Louis Blues defenceman Colton Parayko is ready for the added responsibility that comes with signing a big contract.

“I obviously want to come and be a better player and be a big part of it,” Parayko said in an interview with NHL.com. “But at the same time, I don’t want to get outside of my game and try to do things that aren’t part of me. You’ve just got to find a medium that’s going to make the team better and also make you efficient.”

Parayko, 24, is entering his third NHL season and first after signing a five-year, $27.5 million contract in July. He’ll begin this season penciled onto the Blues second defence pairing with Joel Edmundson, who he has a lot of familiarity with.

Parayko played more than 55 per cent of his shifts last season with Edmundson and is looking forward to being paired with him again.

“(Edmundson’s) a player that I think we complement each other well in different ways,” Parayko said. “He’s easy to play with and you kind of know what he’s about and he’s easy to read off of. I think we really started to find our stride there. I’m excited for us.”

Parayko averaged 21:11 of ice time per game last season including close to two minutes on both the penalty kill and power play. At six-foot-six and 226 pounds, Parayko brings a booming shot on offence and smart positional play on defence.

If he continues to grow as he has in his first two seasons, the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk will be a little easier to swallow for the Blues.

“(Parayko’s) got an absolute cannon, but he has to be able to find ways to get the shot off a little bit quicker, with a little bit more deception,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said when announcing Parayko’s new contract. “It’s a great weapon for us to have (Vladimir) Tarasenko’s ability to score from distance and Colton’s also.”

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