Alex Steen’s Slow Start Part of Larger Trends

Alex Steen began his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Drafted in the first round, 24th overall, Steen would go on to play 178 games before being traded alongside Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak. It’s safe to say the Maple Leafs regretted this move as Steen went on to establish himself as a premier two way winger amassing 365 points with the Blues.

Steen, in his twelfth NHL season, has enjoyed a good career. He is on the verge of 500 career points and is one goal shy of number 200. Steen represented Team Sweden in the Sochi Winter Olympics and helped Sweden earn a silver medal as he managed four points in six games.

Steen and the Blues agreed to a new contract beginning in the 2017-2018 season for four years at a $5.75M cap hit. Despite scoring 188 points since 2013, tied 33 with fellow Swede Henrik Sedin and Ryan O’Rielly, the trend in Steen’s underlying numbers have been a cause for concern.

Steen’s CF% and xGF% Since 2009

Steen has seen a drop in CF% since the start of the 2013-2014 season. It’s not just Steen getting fewer shots attempts towards the net when on the ice. As evidenced by the CA/60, Steen is also allowing a greater percentage of shots against. The same pattern is visible in expected goals. While still heralded as a two way player, Steen’s relative CA/60 entering this season was 2.11, showing that he is no longer the dual threat he once was.

Steen’s Decreasing CF/60 & Increasing CA/60

Keep in mind we are dealing with a small sample size for far for this season, however the trend is stark and follows the same path as his last couple years. Factor in his age and mileage in the NHL, it is clear that Steen’s declining. He’s not as bad as his relative CF% of -8.64 suggests, but it would be fair to expect him to no longer be a positive possession player.

When it comes to point production at even strength, Steen has taken a back step. His primary points/60 last season was one of the lowest marks of his career. It came with a shooting percentage right on par with his career average. Moreover, Steen’s individual chance quality (ixG) has been decreasing.

Steen Primary Points/60 Since 2009

The Swedish winger/center hybrid signed a four year extension worth an average of $5.75M this past summer. The contract does not begin until the 2017-2018 season, when Steen will be 33. If Steen is unable to right ship, that contract could become disastrous sooner rather than later.

Taking a look at who he played with, Steen did better away from the Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo pair. Furthermore, when he played with Troy Brouwer or David Backes, he hovered around a 45% Corsi For%. Interestingly, Steen did well away from those two and both Brower and Backes flourished away from Steen.

Steen underwent surgery during the off-season to repair his injured shoulder. It is unclear whether or not this is having any effects in regards to his lackluster start. He has appeared in 81% of games (0r 67 of 82) since the start of the 2009-2010 season.

The Blues forward has had an impressive career. He developed into a solid two way forward after and has 0.64 points per game in his career. Over the past three years, Steen has shown he is declining. This is evident in shot differentials, chance quality, and point production. The St.Louis Blues


*Stats from Corsica Hockey and Hockey Reference



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