How’s it hanging St. Louis Blues fans? As you wait for the cold chill of hockey season to arrive, allow me to drop in with a quick take on the fresh extension for Blues everyman Alexander Steen.
Pardon the “four reasons” title pitch. I am a work in progress when it comes to titles and zinging my readers(a total that reaches about 6 souls these days). It’s not click bait, but only a way for me to get on with the real juicy details. As I down a Bud select after a mid afternoon lawn trim, let’s talk Steener and Blues.
4) Four years is not illogical and works for the player and the team. Losing David Backes was a business decision and one Doug Armstrong had to make close to the vest to save the team’s long term future. Backes wanted more years and got them. Steen getting four helps the team restrict hyper-extension and allows the players to feel like he got paid. Which Mr. Steen did. 5.7 million isn’t penny slot action for a player reaching 33 during next season. It made sense and was respectful to a great player.
3) That’s right. Steen is the best all around player on the team now that Freight Train #42 has left the building. He controls the action on the power play, works pest control on the penalty kill, logs big boy minutes, and is a smart hockey player who makes those around him shine. He’s not wearing down. In just 67 games last season, he put up 52 points. He’s not aiming to be Tarasenko. His career high in points is 64, which he can still put up when healthy. The point is the man has juice left in those Swedish Fish knees. (Takes a brutal swig of beer to wash out nasty thought of that despicable candy)
2) The back-loaded style of the contract is rather expert. Armstrong positioned his team for a quicker release from the older slower Steen era by paying the winger more up front for his more productive seasons and less as he begins to share drinks with father time.
1) The contract will help the team transition from the celebratory once last shot Ken Hitchcock tour to the new and more speed driven Mike Yeo regimen. In order to safely carry a team through a coaching change, the right veterans need to man the bridge. Steen is a required guy to make that happen. Young players like Robby Fabbri and Tarasenko look up to this guy and his larger than usual nose hairs. With departed team vets like Barret Jackman, Backes and Brian Elliott, Steen is one of the longest tenured Blues now. He may be older, but Steen is still a required dose of hockey savvy goodness.
That’s all there is to it. Training camp has started. The buzz around the Blues resembles a small dull roar but that’s fine. As long as this team clicks into gear and plays like righteous rogues come October, I am a healthy minded Italian beast.
The Petro Captain decision and Steen contract has placed a nice spin on this Blues offseason. Steen’s extension in my mind further cements the fact that 2016-17 is Kevin Shattenkirk’s farewell tour as well, but I was prepared for that in June so what the hell.
Have a nice night. I may continue to drink, find some good people, and have a little Mexican cuisine. Cigars, good conversation, and some sports talk may be included.