In shooting down reports of a contract ultimatum last week, Alex Steen said “I want to be in St. Louis, and the organization knows that.”
Turns out the organization wanted him, too.
On Friday, the Blues announced they’ve signed Steen to a four-year, $23 million extension — one that carries a $5.75 million average annual value.
“We are extremely excited to have Alexander signed for the next four seasons,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said in a release. “He has developed into one of the league’s premier 200-foot players and is a key member of our leadership group.
“He has shown tremendous loyalty to the Blues organization, its fans and the St. Louis community.”
While the AAV is lower than his previous deal — a three-year pact that paid $5.8M per season — Steen gets an extra year of term, which is significant.
Steen turns 33 in March, and while he’s been a very productive player — a career-high 33 goals in ’13-14, and a career-high 64 points in ’14-15 — he’s also had major health concerns, missing 37 games over the last three years combined.
That trend carried over to this summer, as shoulder surgery prevented him from representing Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey.
In light of that, some wondered how comfortable the Blues would be investing in Steen. It was also unknown what the organization had planned for him, especially given how David Backes‘ time ended in St. Louis.
Like Steen, Backes was a vested, veteran leader and, like Steen, Backes was pretty long in the tooth heading into the final year of his deal.
But unlike Steen, Backes left the club and signed elsewhere (Boston) in free agency.
Looking ahead, Steen said he’s recovered from his shoulder injury and will be ready for the start of the year. That’s key, as the Blues will likely lean on Steen and running mate Paul Stastny for some offense in Ken Hitchcock’s final year behind the bench.