Back injury forces Alex Steen to retire after 15-year NHL career

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Alex Steen announced his retirement on Thursday after 15 NHL seasons.

The 36-year-old leaves the game with one year left on his contract due to “multiple levels of degenerative herniated discs of his lumbar spine,” according to the Blues.

A Maple Leafs first round pick in 2002, Steen spent his first four NHL seasons in Toronto before playing the last 12 with St. Louis. He finishes with 245 goals, 622 points, 1,018 games, and one Stanley Cup title. Per the Blues, only Brett Hull and Alex Pietrangelo have played more playoff games than Steen (91) in franchise history.

Steen was limited to just four games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs over the summer.

[From 2019: Laila Anderson interviews Alex Steen after Game 6 win]

Steen’s $5.75M cap hit will remain on the Blues’ books for the 2020-21 season. He’s been on long-term injury reserve, which will happen again this coming season. But even as this is announced as a retirement, he’s not walking away from the $3.5M owed to him on the final year of his contract.

“This has been an emotional process,” Steen told the Blues’ website. “But as I look back on my years in hockey, I would like to thank our organization, our city, our fans and my teammates as I am so proud of all the teams I was part of.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.