St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen has announced his retirement from the NHL.
The team made the announcement Thursday, with the 36-year-old announcing his retirement due to a back injury sustained during the 2019-2020 NHL season. The team noted “multiple levels of degenerative herniated discs of his lumbar spine.”
Steen spent the last dozen seasons in St. Louis, but he began his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Winnipeg-born Swedish winger was drafted 24th overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and he wound up one of the more successful forwards in that draft class, exceeding expectations and finishing second in his group to Rick Nash in career goals and career points.
After playing with Frölunda HC and Modo Hockey in Sweden, Steen debuted for Toronto in October of 2005. The son of Thomas Steen scored his first NHL goal on October 8 of that year against the Montreal Canadiens and went on to score 18 goals in his rookie season.
Steen was traded to the Blues in November of 2008. He, along with Carlo Colaiacovo, was sent to St. Louis in exchange for Lee Stempniak.
Steen’s run with the Blues was impressive. He put together a 13-game point streak in 2013, the best streak by a St. Louis skater since Pierre Turgeon did it in 1999-2000.
In April of 2014, Steen was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy after leading the Blues with 33 goals despite missing 11 games due to a concussion.
Steen signed multiple contracts in St. Louis and he leaves the game with 622 points in 1,018 regular season games. He also boasts a lot of post-season experience, with 36 points in 91 career playoff games.
Perhaps best of all, Steen’s Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019 – their first championship in franchise history, punctuating their 51st season in the best possible way.
Steen’s retirement frees up some cash. He’d been put on the long-term injured reserve list, but his retirement means that St. Louis can spend $5.75 million over the cap – his annual hit. Vladimir Tarasenko’s $7.5 million hit has also been kicked over to the LTIR for a total of $13.25 million.
With St. Louis over the cap, that’s some financial freedom they can look forward to. They expect to get Tarasenko back during the season (presumably), but Steen’s retirement has a silver lining. Defenceman Vince Dunn is still to be signed, but after that you might see general manager Doug Armstrong explore his options on the open market.