Alexander Steen’s extraordinary season has become a half-full, half-empty situation for both player and team. Both parties are happy with what’s taking place on the ice, as Steen is fast approaching career highs in goals and points before the season reaches the halfway point. Even off the ice, if there is a problem it’s a nice one to have. Still ... Steen is in the final year of a contract and has unrestricted free agency staring him in the face. Naturally, the Blues would like to circumvent that development and secure one of their core players. And for his part, Steen would like to avoid discussing it. His mind is focused on hockey right now — first, foremost and solely. But when a team like Toronto comes to town with its posse of reporters, it’s difficult. Steen is a target interview these days, as he was in Winnipeg on Tuesday, as he is anywhere the Blues go. But he is especially relevant for the Toronto crowd. He started his career with the Maple Leafs, a No. 1 draft pick in 2002. He is a person of interest. The intrigue surrounds what he is doing now, with his 22 goals and 35 points, and what his plans are for next summer. So Steen was the center of attention after Thursday morning’s skate at Scottrade Center. He was accommodating but not thrilled to address his status. “I don’t feel the need to start bringing a lot of things into my life right now that I don’t need to,” Steen said. “I’m a guy that likes to keep things simple, nice and loose and relaxed away from the rink.” With Commissioner Gary Bettman projecting a salary cap increase to $71 million next season, the Blues will have more space to work with in which to sign Steen. But the Blues are a team looking for ways to expand revenues not expenditures. At the same time, a cap climb suggests Steen’s price point could go up. Given the season he’s having, it’s sure to exceed the $3.56 million he’s pulling down now. He’s closing out a four-year, $13.45 million deal.
Cash register could be ringing for Steen
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Dec 13