What is it with players on the final year of a contract? At the end of this season, Alex Steen of the St. Louis Blues will become an unrestricted free agent unless he is signed before July 1st. Steen leads the league in goals with 12. He’s finishing at a superstar’s clip, however, his numbers are not reflective of previous career totals. Therefore, re-signing Steen isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Steen’s career high in goals is 24. After only 11 games played in 2013-14 he is already half way toward reaching his highest single season output. He’s a great player, but his early season numbers propel him into big dollar territory on the contract front. Even if Steener scores 40 plus this season, is it ever wise to sign a player to big money if his first elite offensive campaign is at the age of 29? The Leafs made a similar decision with Jason Blake and it did not turn out well for them. To an even lesser extent, the Buffalo Sabres once signed Ville Leino to a lengthy contract because he had a strong playoffs. The move is backfiring on a yearly basis. Not that Steen is comparable to Blake or Leino, because he brings much more to the table, however, his limited offensive success is comparable. So how much money can you throw at a player who may never be more than a 2nd or 3rd line two-way specialist? If he keeps scoring the way he has so far this season, an overpay might be inevitable.
The Blues are doing very well this season. They currently sit 3rd in the Central Division. The NHL is competitive you might say, because with only one regulation loss St. Louis is a single point up on the 4th place Minnesota Wild.