Blues' Parayko brushes off trade talk: 'This is where I want to play'
Colton Parayko's name was a regular feature in the rumor mill last season, but the St. Louis Blues defenseman is tuning out the noise.
"The last few years, I've always been in the (trade talk) mix," he said in a recent interview with The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford. "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."
Last season, the Blues moved on from several players who helped the franchise win its first Stanley Cup in 2019. St. Louis shipped away Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O'Reilly, and Ivan Barbashev - who were all pending unrestricted free agents - prior to the trade deadline, and Parayko reportedly drew some interest too.
The 30-year-old is under contract for seven more seasons and carries a cap hit of $6.5 million, according to CapFriendly. His pact includes a full no-trade clause, however, and he's aware that any potential deal is "always going to run through" him.
Parayko chipped in with four goals and 27 points in 79 contests last season for the lowest points-per-game rate of his career (0.34). St. Louis struggled en masse in 2022-23, finishing 14 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18.
After a low-key offseason that saw the team add Kevin Hayes and Oskar Sundqvist, St. Louis may well be on the outside of the postseason picture again in 2023-24.
Parayko, however, is focused on improvement. He said he would lie awake after some losses last season in an attempt to figure out why things went wrong, which only made things more "frustrating individually."
"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," he said. "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."
The puck drops on the Blues' new season Oct. 12 against the Dallas Stars.