This past week, 36-year-old Alex Steen announced his retirement from professional hockey. The news came as a bit of a shock to those who don’t know Steen personally. But for those who do, it’s no surprise that the veteran forward is calling it a career, following a recent debilitating back injury that has plagued the Winnipeg product for the better part of the past calendar year.
Currently dealing with degenerative herniated disks in his spine, Steen opted for retirement rather than risking serious future injury in an attempt to continue playing through his pain. Following 15 NHL seasons, with the final 12 coming with the St. Louis Blues, the former first round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs (24th overall in 2002) walks away following 1,018 career regular season games in the show.
“This has been an emotional process,” Steen said following his announcement. “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.”
In dealing with his back injury, Steen put up seven goals and 17 points in 55 games last season, prior to skating in four postseason games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he was held pointless.
For his career, the former Winnipeg Monarch put up 245 goals and 377 assists for 622 points, before adding 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points in 91 playoff games. Steen is ranked fourth in Blues history in games played (765), fifth in points scored (496), sixth in assists (301) and ninth in goals (195). Only Brett Hull and Alex Pietrangelo have skated in more postseason games for St. Louis than Steen.
“I think there’s something in a book about the All Blacks rugby team that they want to leave their jersey in a better place than when they got it,” Steen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “That’s something I’ve kept in the back of my head, to keep pushing that forward, together with everybody I played with in the organization. It’s a group effort, you know, with the alumni, with what they’ve done before. When you come to an organization like St. Louis, when I came, there wasn’t a championship here, but there was plenty of history. They moved it forward, and as we played with our groups, we wanted to move it forward, and I think that’s, when people look back at my time here in St. Louis, that we were able to do that.”
The 2019 Stanley Cup champion was entering the final year of a four-season deal (signed in 2016) worth a total of $23 million ($5.75 million cap hit). Steen has an approximate career earnings of $55 million.