(Photo Credit: Jeff Robertson / Associated Press)
In the last 4 years, Alexander Steen has averaged 18 goals, 35 assists, and 53 points per season. Last season, Alex was 7th on the team in even strength assists with 21. He was tied with Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko for 2nd on the team in Power Play assists with 10. Alex finished 4th on the team in Power Play goals with 4. The three to beat him out in that category were none other than Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, and again, Vladimir Tarasenko.
Let’s be realistic. Steener didn’t play his best this past season, but he wasn’t horrible either. He still finished 5th on the team in points, behind Schenn, Schwartz, Tarasenko, and Pietrangelo. Alexander has worked hard, and played smart. He’s been quite strong too, having played in 152 of the Blues last 164 regular season games. Seasons 2014-16 through 2016-17, Alex has played 36 post-season games, and averaged 0.58 points per game. Steen finished 5th on the team in shots on goal, and 8th on the team in both shooting percentage and time on ice.
Only 6 fellow Blues players blocked more shots than #20 last year. Also, he placed 5th on the team in shot attempts with 303. 168 reached the net (55%). He ranked 5th among forwards for the Blues in Corsi For with 53.6%, and 6th among forwards in Takeaways.
In the midst of Pietrangelo growing as a Captain, Steen has been leaned on for leadership, continually. Only Chris Thorburn and Jay Bouwmeester are older. Steen has them beat in games played as a Blue. Alexander has sported the note for 645 games over the last 10 years while averaging 0.7 points per regular season game. In the last 4 seasons, Alexander has averaged just over 73 games played per season. He plays through injuries, and well.
The Blues didn’t make the playoffs last season, but let’s not forget what Steener did in 2015-16. Through 20 playoff contests, Alexander averaged 0.5 points per game (4 goals & 6 assists). Then, in 2016-17, he scored 1 goal and tallied 3 assists for 4 points in 6 post-season games.
Among the Forwards, Alexander Steen is a very important leader in the locker room. I’m not sure why so many fans are forgetting that. Yes, Alexander Steen is 34 years old, and it’s possible he’s on a decline, but take into consideration that the 2017-18 Blues had a lot of holes. I expect to see the Alexander Steen we all have been accustomed to in the coming 2018-19 season.
I especially believe this considering the changes in personnel around him. Ideally, I’d like to see Alexander Steen stapled in on the 3rd line right wing to work with Tyler Bozak. I think that Robby Fabbri, and Patrick Maroon would be great options for their left side. Now that the Blues have depth at the forward position, I see Steen benefiting from playing a reduced role with a bunch less pressure. I’m excited to see how well he responds, and I think his potential line-mates will make things easier for him.
Of course, it’s possible we do see Steen play top six minutes. Why wouldn’t we? Mike Yeo will resort to the veteran on occasion as he plays a responsible game, and I’m not opposed to the rest of the club watching that from the bench on occasion. Alexander sets a good example so he should still get some opportunities to play on the 2nd line, but his home should be the 3rd.
“Steen playing on the third line gives the Blues the best possible depth. Him playing against the other teams bottom 6 makes him dangerous. He struggled last year against the top lines, he is not fast enough to do that anymore, but he’s a great hockey mind and a great 2 way player.” – James Barry
I know… I know…
“Alexander can improve in the (+/-) category.”
Before you step on Steen for his (+/-) rating, understand that (+/-) is an awful stat that isn’t indicative of who actually carries the play. I believe this will be a bounce-back season for #20. He should be put in position to comfortably succeed. Expectations will be lower than in years past, and I expect him to exceed those expectations. As I’ve already stated, the 2017-18 roster had a lot of holes. That’s not exactly the case in St. Louis these days.
- Have some respect for the man.
- He has a team to play with now.
- Put him where he’s supposed to be.
- He’ll flourish.
If you want to blame anyone for Steen’s “horrible” contract, blame Hitch for utilizing #20’s every strength. Hitch relied on Alex and he got the job done. Simply isn’t utilized in the same ways these days (yes, due to age), but Steen doesn’t try less since locked in. #StLBlues
— bluesrants.com (@bluesrantscom) July 28, 2018