St. Louis Blues Alexander Steen Now Has Albatross Contract

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Alexander Steen
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Alexander Steen /

The St. Louis Blues have a recent history of having contracts that hang over their head. They’ve been fortunate to get rid of some, but the most recent might still hold them down.

The St. Louis Blues have a recent history of some bigger contracts hanging over their heads. They have managed to dump some and absorb the rest. Things rarely change though.

Whether you hate him or like him, one thing many agree on is Doug Armstrong has overvalued the players he has already had under his umbrella. In an attempt to stick with the devil you know rather than the one you do not, he has often overpaid guys in their second or third contracts.

In his defense, he has usually kept the term limits to good length, not overpaying and overextending the deals. The price is usually where fans find the most fault with what Army is giving out.

The latest contract to fit that bill appears to be that of Alexander Steen‘s. Steen’s offense has fallen off and he’s not helping in the secondary aspects of the game as much either.

I’m not going to lie. I was in favor of Steen’s extension when it was signed – at least compared to the other options the Blues had of bringing players back from in house.

However, now, his contract seems to be the one that is the most likely to hang over the Blues heads. Much of that is due to length and money.

Right now several fans are yelling at their computers or phones saying Jay Bouwmeester is the one. His deal is the root of all problems with St. Louis according to some.

The issue with that in this argument is he is actually costing less money than Steen is. Bouwmeester’s contract is also going to run out after 2018-19. Yes, his level of play might not be worth $5.4 million, but it is just 5.4 left, not over 20.

Steen still has three years left on his contract after this season. He will be 37 by the end of that deal. We knew that going into it, but when it was signed there was still hope for a bounce back year or at least a leveling off.

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Instead, Steen’s offensive production has gone down every season since 2014-15. At first it seemed like the contract was still worth it at 50-plus points. Now, Steen will be lucky to top the 50 point total again and there seems to be little hope of a bounce back.

Nothing is impossible, of course. If the Blues could fill out their lineup and push Steen a little further down, toward the third line, he might be able to focus more on his offense. That said, a resurgence seems unlikely.

Steen just does not seem to be as able these days. He was recently called the team’s best player and has always been described as a two-way forward. He’s just not contributing defensively the way he did.

His hits are above last year’s numbers, however he still has the worst plus/minus rating on the team. Additionally, his point shares are down by quite a bit compared to his usual averages.

None of this is to say the Blues need to get rid of Steen. He can still be an impactful presence on the squad.

They need a combination of better play from him and also less reliance on him by others. It has to be said that dumping his salary would go a long way to giving the Blues extra flexibility to sign free agents and give raises to other players.

If we are going to pick on so many other contracts, are we really going to justify paying Steen more than Jaden Schwartz?

The Blues have managed to get out from other contracts in recent years. They got a small return for Paul Stastny, even though he was a pending free agent. They turned the dumpster fire of a Jori Lehtera contract into a current star with Brayden Schenn.

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Maybe they could twist things in their favor with this one too. It will be harder since Steen has a no trade clause and likes being in St. Louis. Nothing is impossible though and the Blues could really use an extra $5.75 in their account to spend elsewhere.

It should be said that this contract is not as burdensome as some of the others lately since Steen is still producing at a semi-decent rate. Given the amount he is to be paid and the years he has left, this is the team’s biggest albatross.