When you hear the name Alexander Steen, what comes to mind? For many hockey fans it won’t be “superstar” or “elite forward” but what will come to mind is Stanley Cup champion. In fact, what should come to mind is a player that was top three in franchise history for nearly 15 seasons. A player that began the transition of a franchise from “come grow with us” as its slogan to Stanley Cup champion.
Allow me to be a hockey nerd for a few minutes because once the announcement of Steen’s career being completed, I needed to go back and look at where he ranks not only in franchise history but where he ranks in a few other categories. Frankly, I was surprised:
Since being acquired by St. Louis in the 08-09 season, Steen ranks for team numbers:
• 2nd in goals/assists/ even strength goals/ power play points/ short-handed points
• 3rd in power play goals
• 1st in overall points/ even strength points/ short-handed goals/ game-winning goals
It’s not just team stats in that time frame (2008-2020) but overall stats in the league:
• 61st overall in points (500) which puts him more than future Hall of Famers like Marian Hossa, Ryan Kesler & Pavel Datsyuk
As impressive as that may be, how about what he has done in his career compared to the others from his draft class (2002):
• 6th most games played (only 1 left that is still playing – Duncan Keith)
• 2nd most in goals and points (behind only Rick Nash)
• Arguably, the most productive 24th overall pick in NHL history (TJ Oshie & Daniel Briere)
All of these stats are a perfect description of what Alexander Steen’s career did, it flew under the radar. In an era where NHL teams succeed from having superstars like Crosby, Ovechkin & McDavid, the Blues succeeded from having role players that had an impact on an entire roster. Steen brought an “old school” style to the Blues in a time where a youthful roster was looking for a push back into relevance. Steen never took a day off, was always willing to talk after bad losses & never afraid to tell it like it is.
The influence from Steen wasn’t just on the ice, it was even bigger off. Joe Vitale told the story on This Week in Hockey that Alexander was the first guy to get on the team plane and ask the stewardess for “six beers for the boys while they play cards”. He always stayed prepared for games but never took the off-days or road trips to serious. You can’t if you plan on being successful in an 82-game schedule and that was what Steen was apart of, success. He made sure that players were together after games which made the team as close as it had ever been when they won the Cup. While on the Blues, his team never had a losing season and missed the playoffs only 3 seasons.
A few memories, for me, that I will never forget when thinking of Alexander Steen. The kindness he always showed me in the locker room. Whether it was pregame or post game, Steen was always willing to answer questions and do so without making you feel small. The influence he had on St. Louis off of the ice with his regular visits to local hospitals, the events he was always present at and the lives he helped change from children that needed a smile. And, of course, those moments on the ice that brought St. Louis to its feet. That short-handed goal against the Kings in OT will be a lasting memory for every Blues fan.
Finally, the night he raised the Cup above his head. You could see 15+ years of blood, sweat and tears in his smile when he was handed Lord Stanley’s Cup from Jay Bouwmeester. An accomplish in his career that his dad was never able to achieve but an accomplish that he desperately wanted for his city, St. Louis. Some may not view Alexander Steen as a “franchise piece” but everyone should recognize Steen as a piece that was needed for a franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup.