Friday, September 23, 2016

Blues Ink Steen for 4 Years at $5.75 AAV

The St. Louis Blues have locked up left wing Alexander Steen for $23 million over four years. The 32-year-old has been a key forward in St. Louis, scoring 74 goals in his last three seasons, but his goal production has dropped from 33 in 2013-14 to 17 last season. Still, Steen is a key leader in the Blues' dressing room and an intelligent two-way player that brings intangibles to the club.

Steen injured his left shoulder in February of last season, and played much of the season hurt. He underwent shoulder surgery on June 3rd and is hoping to be ready to open the regular season in good health.

"There are certain players on your team that raise your intellect level on your team," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post Dispatch after the signing. "As far as hockey sense, as far as smarts on the ice, as far as playing the game the right way. So we're able to show him off to a lot of younger players. He's a good example of how to play the game the right way, how to prepare off the ice, how to stay fit, how to take care of yourself in every aspect, so it becomes a very easy sell for us as a coaching staff."

The four-year deal means that the Blues have Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Jake Allen all signed through the 2020-21 season.

Steen was about to begin the fourth year of a four-year, $17 million deal with the Blues. He elected not to play out the year and test the free agent market out of loyalty to the franchise.

It would have been extremely tough to leave here and now I don't have to worry about that," he said. "I don't think I could have seen myself throwing anything else over my shoulders than the Bluenote right now. It takes some time to grow attached like this. For me, it's nothing that I take lightly and I'm extremely happy to stay here."