Steen shoots down reports of contract ultimatum


Heading into the last of a three-year deal that pays $5.8 million annually, Alex Steen has made it clear he’d like to re-up in St. Louis.

And he’s also made it clear he doesn’t need a contract extension before the season starts.

“I don’t know where that surfaced, that’s not something that’s come from me,” Steen said of rumors that he won’t negotiate during the season, per the Post-Dispatch. “I want to be in St. Louis and the organization knows that.

“I’m sure we’ll get to it when we get to it, so we’re not stressed about it.”

This situation will be one worth monitoring.

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.

(Steen did tell the Post-Dispatch he plans to be ready for the Blues’ season opener, though.)

It’s hard to look at the Steen situation and not think about 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.

Eventually, GM Doug Armstrong made two difficult decisions: One, he kept Backes past the trade deadline, putting Backes’ value towards a playoff push ahead of his value on the open market.

Two, Armstrong let Backes walk in free agency, explaining that the two sides “haven’t been able to find that common ground.”

That led to Backes joining the Bruins on a lucrative five-year, $30 million deal.

There’s a youth movement at play in St. Louis, make no mistake. Armstrong has parted ways with the older, face-of-the-franchise types like Backes, T.J. Oshie and Barret Jackman, and ushered in a new leadership group spearheaded by the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko.

On that note — and in relation to Steen’s contract situation — it’s worth noting that Parayko needs a new deal for next season as well. Same goes for offensive defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Related: Blues GM says he might just keep Shattenkirk