Alexander Steen has turned an MVP campaign through 33 games this season into a large pay raise from the St. Louis Blues over the next three seasons: $17.4 million, for a $5.8 million cap hit through 2017, per Jeremy Rutherford.
Steen is in the last year of a 4-year, $13.45 million contract that carried an annual hit of $3.362 million. Not coincidentally, he’s having the best offensive season of his professional life with 22 goals in 33 games. His 1.09 points per game average would shatter his previous best (0.71).
One hopes this contract doesn't, uh, alter the motivation for Steen this season. It's a contract year performance from him. Granted, his pace should trail off anyway over the next 49 games games, which will confuse the matter in the eyes of critics.
But keep this in mind, naysayers: He’s not just getting paid for 33 games. When healthy, Steen can be counted on for 20 goals and solid two-way play. He’s an asset that would have found similar money from any number of teams seeking a top-six winger as an unrestricted free agent.
If the line continues to thrive, this ensures that David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen are all in St. Louis through 2016. Which is a pretty good foundation of forwards around which to build.
The Blues can now turn their attention to new deals for Vladamir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz, who are both impending RFAs, as well as goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, who are both UFAs this summer. Hey, wouldja look at that, so is Ryan Miller!