When St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen underwent shoulder surgery back in early June the initial timetable for his return was 4-6 months. As recently as a month ago he was hoping that he could be ready for the team’s season opener on Oct. 12 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
It seems he will have no trouble meeting that goal.
Steen will be back in the Blues lineup on Wednesday night when the team plays the Washington Capitals in Kansas City. According to the Blues website, he will skate on a line alongside Paul Stastny and Robbi Fabbri.
“Basically, I feel like I’ve been well enough the last little bit to try,” said Steen, via the Blues website. “I didn’t want to go out there too early. Early in training camp, I had time on my side and didn’t want to push it too fast. Yesterday, I just made the decision that I wanted to get out of practice and into some games.”
The 32-year-old Steen is one of the Blues’ best and most important forwards, playing an all-around game that allows him to drive possession and contribute between 50 and 60 points every season. That is pretty much top-line production in today’s NHL.
He is coming off of a 2015-16 season that saw him score 17 goals and add 35 assists in only 67 games (that is a 64-point pace over 82 games).
He then added 10 points in 20 playoff games as the Blues reached the Western Conference finals.
Once the season ended, it was an eventful summer for Steen that included the shoulder surgery that kept him out of the World Cup and the first couple of weeks of training camp. After that was completed he also agreed to a new multi-year contract with the Blues that will pay him $23 million over four years. Whether or not he is able to maintain that same level of production at the end of the contract (when he he will be in his mid-30s) remains to be seen, but in the short-term it is a pretty fair price for a player that produces and plays the way Steen does.