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Alex Steen Announces NHL Retirement, Blues to Go UFA Shopping?

Alex Steen has retired from the NHL and that will leave the St. Louis Blues with some money to hit the free agent market.

As per a few sources on Thursday, including confirmation from the St. Louis Blues organization, Alex Steen has retired from the NHL and will not return to the team this coming season. As part of his retirement, Steen will be treated as an injured player during the last season of his contract, meaning he will earn his full $3.5 million salary.

Related: Scribes Answer Questions About Trading Tarasenko and Future With Blues

The 36-year-old spent 12 of his 15 NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, and won a Stanley Cup with the franchise in 2019. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury last season and the multiple levels of degenerative herniated discs in his lumbar spine made it impossible for Steen to return.

If Steen files for retirement (as he’s doing) his cap hit in 2020-21 would come off the Blues salary cap and free up that space for the club to use elsewhere. Had he not filed for retirement, his cap hit would continue to count, however the club could place him on LTIR.

GM Doug Armstrong said of Steen: “Steen played a winning game, and his teammates knew what they were going to get from him each night on the ice. He’s had some huge playoff goals for this franchise, and that’s what I’ll remember.”

Steen retires as one of the most respected Blues of all time and his community work was almost as impressive as his on-ice contributions.

Alex Steen St. Louis Blues NHL

Expect the Blues to Go Shopping

With the loss of Steen, the early consensus might be that the Blues take a look at the free agent market to see if any players on the board will be a good fit. As Rutherford points out however, “When thinking about potential free agents in the aftermath of Steen’s retirement, keep in mind that [Vladimir] Tarasenko will be coming off LTIR and [Vince] Dunn remains unsigned.” He adds, “Penciling Dunn in for about $2.5 million, that would leave the Blues roughly $4.2 million in cap space.”

What could the Blues get with $4.2 million? In this market, probably a lot actually. Mike Hoffman is likely too expensive, but someone like Anthony Duclair or Erik Haula could be a potential target.

Next: Kraken Could Be Circling Three Specific Maple Leafs Players

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