By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Hockey Writer
The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Colton Parayko to a $27.5 million, five-year contract just before the sides were set to go to arbitration.
Parayko will count $5.5 million against the salary cap through 2021-22. General manager Doug Armstrong announced the deal Thursday.
Armstrong and the 24-year-old restricted free agent and his representatives had arrived at the hearing in Toronto when they settled on a long-term contract. Armstrong said if Parayko gone to arbitration, the contract would have been for two years and the Blues could have worked something out in 2019 before he hit unrestricted free agency.
Parayko has 13 goals and 55 assists for 68 points in 160 games over his first two NHL seasons. Armstrong expects Parayko's production to increase with more ice time.
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