The Blues have a ton of questions to address over the summer, ranging from their coaching staff all the way to their unending search for a top center. There are plenty of areas for the Blues to improve and work on, but one of the best changes might also be one of the easiest – Put Colton Parayko on the top power play unit.
Throughout 2016-17 and into the playoffs, Parayko was mostly used on the secondary unit while Alex Pietrangelo consumed the vast majority of time with the man advantage. Pietrangelo averaged 2:27 of power play time per game (3:30 in the playoffs) while Parayko clocked in at an average of 1:45 per game (1:33 in the playoffs). While Pietrangelo offers a more solid defensive presence and perhaps a bit more reliability, the Blues could have easily used Parayko’s monster shot from the point to help boost their power play when it was struggling most.
Consider the playoffs where the Blues were dreadful on the power play. Instead of running out Pietrangelo repeatedly for every man advantage, why not give Parayko some top minutes? That’s not to say remove Pietrangelo entirely, but give a larger portion to Parayko with the hope being that his shot can generate offense while at the same time cutting down on Pietrangelo’s minutes slightly to preserve him over the season.
Pietrangelo tallied six power play goals in the regular season compared to Parayko’s four. Pietrangelo’s role with the advantage is to help set up the goal and not necessarily score the goal itself. That’s fine, but one would think Parayko’s bomb could go a long way in helping score more directly given he had just two fewer goals in roughly 55 fewer total power play minutes in the regular season.
Of course, there is one big caveat – Parayko needs to make sure all of his breaking stick problems are resolved before getting any more time on the power play. That issue seemed to be mostly resolved by the end of the year, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.