By Patrick Kelly
After a 15-year career that included over a decade with the Blues, Alexander Steen has announced his retirement from the NHL. The man who was the third player to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup has decided to call it quits because of a back injury that was going to see him land on long-term injured reserve.
Getting in one final year even though it was a shortened one, Steen reached a huge milestone by playing over 1,000 games in which he amassed 245 goals and 377 points. Steen’s father Thomas played in the NHL where he spent 13 years and finished with a total of 950 games.
With Steen now retired and Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injured reserve, the Blues have more holes to fill. General manager Doug Armstrong said there is a possibility an acquisition could occur, but looking at the roster, the team’s ability to fill holes from within seems easier. Jordan Kyrou and Klim Kostin have been waiting to get their shot at the NHL and because of injuries they could receive the opportunity they have been driving to get.
Although the loss of Steen is a hit to the depth on the offensive side, the fact that two spots have to be filled seems like a problem. However, it is one that, like last year, there likely won’t be an issue. The Blues were without Tarasenko almost all year with several other key players going down at different points in the season with the Blues on pace to win the Central when 10 games were remaining in the season.
Like last year, this will also open up the opportunity for different lines to be moved around and some of the younger players able to find those with whom they have chemistry. The Blues of the late 2000s and 2010s are slowly on their way out. Steen was a face of this franchise and now the new age has slowly begun. Guys like Robert Thomas and Ivan Barbashev are looking to make waves and the pieces are falling into place for them to jump to the next level.