Long time St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen has been forced to retire due to a chronic back injury. Steen suffered the injury during the 2019-20 season and suffered "multiple levels of degenerative herniated discs of his lumbar spine." Steen was limited to just one playoff game this past summer due to the injury.
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"This has been an emotional process," Steen told stlouisblues.com. "But as I look back on my years in hockey, I would like to thank our organization, our city, our fans and my teammates as I am so proud of all the teams I was part of."
The 36-year-old forward finishes his career with 1,018 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs. Steen recorded 245 goals and 377 assists (454 points) in a 15-season career that included a Stanley Cup championship with the Blues in 2019.
Steen first arrived in St. Louis in November 2008 after being acquired, along with defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, in a trade that sent Lee Stempniak to the Maple Leafs. Steen ranks fourth in Blues history in games played (765), ninth in goals (195), sixth in assists (301) and fifth in points (496). Only two Blues (Brett Hull and Alex Pietrangelo) have played more playoff games with the franchise than Steen, who appeared in 91 postseason contests.
His biggest accomplishment though might be getting himself out from his father's shadow. Thomas Steen was an excellent player himself who put up 553 in 950 career NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets, but Alex managed to carve out his own career and it was a mighty fine one.
For the purposes of the salary cap, Steen's $5.75 million cap hit does not disappear for the Blues, but it's expected that they'll use Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) to get out from under the cap hit, similar to the New York Islanders' situation with recently retired defenseman Johnny Boychuck.
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In any case, what an outstanding career for the younger Steen. He established himself as a leader with the Blues early on and has gone through all the ups and downs of the franchise since arriving from the Leafs way back in 2008.