Looking Back: Blues 2009-10 MVP
The 2009-10 season was a disappointing one. The Blues failed to make the playoffs and fell under the expectations and hype placed on them heading into the year. Still, the year did have it's bright spots and did have it's clutch performers. There was a lot of negative points this past year and a lot of poor seasons by many of the skaters, but it wasn't all doom and gloom.Today, we name our MVP from the year that was.
Andy McDonald led the way with a strong year, recording 57 points to lead all St. Louis skaters. McDonald likely didn't receive the praise he deserved as his solid play remained hidden beneath the dismal play of Brad Boyes and company throughout the majority of the year.
My vote for MVP of the St. Louis Blues goes to Alex Steen. Things just seemed to click for Steen in his fifth season in the NHL as he set new career-highs in goals and points. His final statistics for the season read 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points. This line might not sound too impressive compared to other skaters around the NHL, but Steen showed remarkable drive and determination in his first full season with the Blues. It's also important to note that he only skated in 68 games as the result of a broken wrist. Clearly the injury had no lingering effects as Steen stormed the ice following his return and resumed his role causing chaos on the ice.
Steen really came into his own down the stretch, helping keep the playoff hopes alive in St. Louis with timely goal after timely goal. Following the break for the Olympics, Steen notched nine goals and 10 assists in just 20 games, a ratio well above the one we had seen leading up to the Olympics.
Often you will hear about a player that never stops churning around the ice, causing mayhem for the opposition. Rarely could this saying be used to describe the Blues this year as they sunk into lackluster performances usually late in close games. Steen broke this rule. Often you could find Steen flying around the ice, disrupting passes and creating opportunities in the offensive zone with his speed along the boards. These plays often didn't result in a goal, but Steen did well in creating opportunities for his side - a statistic that unfortunately doesn't show up in any boxscores.
As he helped carry the Blues playoff hopes late in the year, Steen grew to be a favorite amongst fans as well as a valuable asset in the game of fantasy hockey. Steen sits currently as a restricted free agent, and one has to imagine that the Blues will sign him in the near future to ensure they keep him around for at least a couple years to come. It's remarkable how quickly Steen grew into very high regard amongst the fans and I feel confident in saying it would be pretty shocking if the Blues didn't offer Steen a new contract.
What does the future hold for Alex Steen?
In terms of production, I think the ceiling still has yet to be reached. The mark of 47 points in 68 games is pretty solid, and should obviously rise as he appears in more games. As the year progressed, Steen's wrist shot appeared to get more and more lethal, which hopefully will carry over into the new season. The center appears to be transitioning towards more of a goal scorer than we have seen during his time with Toronto, which should make Blues fans pretty happy that the Blues were able to land him in a trade during the 2008-09 season.
This is one player on a roster full of disappointments that stood out, and is one face I hope to see next year playing for our St. Louis Blues.