When a team in the NHL takes a step back and performs below expectations, typically there will also be a few key players on that team who have taken individual steps back, steps back that help contribute to the larger decline. The St. Louis Blues had a difficult 2022-23 season, one that saw them finish outside the playoffs. That’s been a rarity during the Blues’ current competitive run, one that yielded the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup championship in 2019, and one of the bigger reasons for that step back was the decline of key defenseman Colton Parayko.
Parayko, 30, is making $6.5MM AAV through 2029-30 but saw his all-around results decline from 2021-22 to 2022-23. He went from 35 points scored to 27, his ice time went down a tick, and his defensive play was not up to his usually high standards. That led to speculation that the Blues and Parayko could seek out a change of scenery in the offseason, though that didn’t end up coming to pass. Those trade rumors haven’t deterred Parayko, either, who told The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford that he plans on remaining a Blue “for a long time.” (subscription link) As the owner of a full no-trade clause, it’s going to be up to him whether that actually happens, and it appears moving forward both parties view a bounce-back season as the optimal solution to Parayko’s decline rather than a trade.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- The Carolina Hurricanes have announced a working agreement with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals that will allow the Hurricanes to assign prospects to the ECHL club. The Admirals are the official affiliates of the Winnipeg Jets, but per this agreement, they’ll share the ability to send prospects to Norfolk alongside Winnipeg. The ECHL is typically not where NHL teams send most of their prospects, but in the case that the Hurricanes find they need to send a prospect to North America’s third-tier league they now have a clear path to do so.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins announced “SportsNet Pittsburgh” today, finalizing the home of Penguins hockey for all regionally televised games. Per the announcement, the Penguins “entered into an agreement to acquire and re-brand the existing AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh network,” the Penguins’ regional sports network from last season. There has been significant uncertainty in the regional sports broadcasting market in recent months, but with this announcement Penguins fans get some clarity as to what entity will broadcast their team’s games moving forward.