The St. Louis Blues have hit a wall as they approach the All-Star break for 2018. Their recent demise has given us a chance to see that there might actually be fingers to point.
The St. Louis Blues have a lot of things to ponder as they get their wits about them. There has been a lot of starts and stops over the last month or so.
However, it seems that even the best of play has not included one person we’ve come to expect much from. Alexander Steen has suddenly become an afterthought on this team.
That seems like a lot to say. Steen definitely has his fans out there and there was something resembling a fist fight in online terms when he got questioned earlier in the season.
However, there is no doubt that Steen is not the player he once was. Whether it is age or pressuring himself to do too much and getting none of it done, he’s not the same player.
Steen is a far cry from the man Ken Hitchcock actually called the best player on the Blues a couple seasons ago. His offense has been in decline for years.
From 2013-15, he was a 60 point scorer. In 2013-14, he had 33 goals. It’s been downhill since then.
In 2014-15, Steen scored 24. After that it has declined to 17, 16 and nine goals through 43 games this season.
With nine goals so far, he could easily hit the total of goals from last season. However, with only 27 points to this part of the season, it seems highly unlikely Steen equals his total of 51 from 2016-17.
Fans of Steen have said his drop in production is understandable since the Blues want him to focus on his defensive responsibilities. That’s where the argument falls apart.
We can argue about the legitimacy of the plus/minus statistic. However, when the numbers reach a certain point, it is a telling marker that a player is not doing what he needs to.
Steen, amazingly, is a minus-14 through 43 games. At first, you could argue his plus/minus situation was due to missing a few games at the start of the year.
More from Analysis
- St. Louis Blues and Cardinals Similar In All The Wrong Ways
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 82 At Dallas
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 81 Vs Dallas
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 80 At Minnesota
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 79 Vs NY Rangers
It has only gotten increasingly worse, however. Steen is not putting up major points, but 27 is nothing truly terrible.
That number compounds the defensive issues though. When you consider that Steen has 27 points, but is still a minus-14, that is quite bad defensively.
That essentially means that Steen has been on the ice for at least 41 opponent goals.
Again, you can argue the validity of the stat since it does not take into account how much Steen is to personally blame for those goals. Still, for a guy that is being given a ton of slack due to an image of being the team’s best defensive forward, that is unacceptable.
We have reached the point that Steen is now expendable. He is about as far from untouchable as it gets.
Steen’s defense has been keeping him alive. Now, he may have worn out his welcome if the right deal comes along.
That is not to say that any deal is on the burner. Steen is 33 and still has three more seasons on his $5.75 million contract. Teams may simply not be interested in him.
That is not to say he can’t still be a semi-productive player for the Blues. Steen is not someone we need to actively campaign against. Despite my own feelings on his possible role in the firing of Hitchcock, he has meant a lot to this team.
The bottom line is that Steen, and for that matter just about all the Blues right now, are not safe. They are not doing enough to keep their names out of any rumor mills.
Steen especially can’t feel comfortable in his situation. He’s not really aiding this team in a meaningful way.
You can say that about plenty of guys and that needs to be mentioned as well. However, when you have a team leader that is doing nothing in terms of leading this team positively, it has to have a brighter light shined on it.