Today, the Blues made an off-season announcement that no one truly wanted them to make:
Alexander Steen has announced his retirement from hockey due to a back injury. Steen's NHL career spanned 15 seasons, more than 1,000 NHL games, 454 points and a Stanley Cup in 2019. #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 17, 2020
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Steen’s future with the team was a question mark going into this off-season. He missed most of the playoff bubble with a lower body injury, after missing 16 regular season games due to other injuries.
Steen arrived in St. Louis with Carlo Colaiacovo in November of 2008 in exchange for Lee Stempniak. In contrast to Stempniak, who would go on to play for nine additional NHL teams in his career, Steen was a fixture on the Blues for the last twelve seasons. His usage on the team shifted from a top six role to a fourth line mentor as he aged and his production declined, but it’d be inappropriate to say that his modified use by the coaching staffs was punitive or just a result of age. His utilization as a fourth liner lent stability to a line that had shifted from grinders to youth. With Steen out during this season’s playoffs, along with other circumstances, the Blues’ bottom trio never gelled like they did in the 2019 playoffs. During 2019’s run for the Cup, Steen finished the playoffs with two goals and three assists, but his leadership on the ice contributed in more ways than the point sheet.
Of course, any recap of Steen’s career would be incomplete without mentioning game winning overtime goal against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2013 playoffs. The Blues would go on to lose that series, but that doesn’t diminish what a moment this was for Steener:
Steen finishes his career with 1018 regular season games played, 245 regular season goals, and 388 regular season assists. At the time of his retirement, he had one season remaining on a four year deal that saw him getting paid $5,750,000 a season. It would be difficult to imagine that the Blues, a team who is eager to offer Jay Bouwmeester a position as a scout, wouldn’t want to keep Steen and his mentorship as an active part of the franchise somehow.