As we enter the new year, a couple defensemen have proven their worth in St. Louis—Colton Parayko and Kevin Shattenkirk. Will these guys hoist up St. Louis' first Stanley Cup?
Parayko the Blues New, Young, Shining Star
Selected by St. Louis in the 3rd round of the 2012 entry draft, Colton Parayko, (age 22, 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds) has made his first splash in the NHL this season. But the power defensemen from St. Albert, Alberta isn’t just flying under the radar.
Since joining the Blues roster, Colton has posted 6 goals and 10 assists in his 39 games played. Half of his goals are game-winners, and that mark ties a Blues rookie record set by Erik Johnson. The 16 points posted are tops among defensemen and his plus 10 rating is also good for the league lead. The rookie is turning the most heads, however, for his well-developed slap shot. Like Blues fans remember, that kind of power on the back line is something that can be lethal in big moments. Most Note fans recall a guy by the name of Al MacInnis who had similar impact.
Parayko may not be at big Al’s caliber just yet, but he’s well on his way. Offensively he seems to be coming into his own, and defensively he’s a big-bodied player who can block shots.
Colton Parayko may be making more of an impact than he is receiving credit for. Regardless, the rookie’s work so far is impressive. Parayko will need to continue to have impact and potentially be an x-factor down the stretch for St. Louis.
Shatty Proving His Value Thus Far in ’15-’16 Campaign
What more is there to say? The 26-year-old defensemen, after being brought on as a piece to the puzzle in 2010, is making the case for epitomizing the defensive core and depth. Kevin is proving that worth further in the ’15-’16 campaign. If St. Louis is going to achieve their 48-season-long dream, then #22 is going to be a viable piece.
Kevin has posted 7 goals and 17 assists through his 31 games played thus far. To put that in perspective, he leads all defensemen on the roster in points, and is ahead of the next closest man, Colton Parayko, by 8. He is tied for second in assists along with forward Vladimir Tarasenko, and his 7 times lighting the lamp is good for 4th overall on the team. If that isn’t respectable, I’m not sure what is.
Kevin is proving his worth on more than just the stat sheet. Along with defensive teammate and assistant captain Alex Pietrangelo, “ShatDueces” is trying to lead a defensive unit into an offensive threat, but he can’t do so on his own. Two-way defensemen are necessary to keep up in the NHL today, and having contributions on the back end are critical to a deep cup run. It’s time that others on the roster step up their game to match Shatty’s output.
Take away the contributions that Shattenkirk is making on the back end, and St. Louis would be relying way too heavily on key scoring forwards such as Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko. That doesn’t sit well if you want to challenge anyone for a Stanley Cup in this league, especially in a locked and loaded Central Division, and really, Western Conference. If the Blues want to have a parade, they need to find some goal scoring contributions from the remainder of the roster, and that includes the defensive line. Luckily, Shattenkirk has remained healthy enough to add to that threat, but he can’t continue to do so alone.