AlexSteen


Is Alex Steen for real?

 

Looking at the NHL scoring leaders, there are many familiar names at the top of the list: Crosby, Ovechkin, Thornton…

 

But a few names do jump out as not belonging. One of those is Alexander Steen.

The son of former Jet Thomas Steen, Alexander has goals in six of his seven games, being shut out only against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 15. Steen has the second highest points per game average in the league at 1.57, trailing only Sidney Crosby, is second in goals, and tied for 10th in points.

 

What’s the reason for the hot start, and can it continue?

 

Let’s start by looking at his linemates.

 

2012-13 season

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

56.95%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 74 OSHIE,T.J. - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

8.65%

SH

42 BACKES,DAVID - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

6.95%

PP

12 ROY,DEREK - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 25 STEWART,CHRIS - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

4.14%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

2.44%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 17 SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

1.5%

EV

74 OSHIE,T.J. - 17 SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

0.94%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 75 REAVES,RYAN - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

 

2011-12 season

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

17.1%

EV

10 MCDONALD,ANDY - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

14.04%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 57 PERRON,DAVID - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

10.2%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 25 STEWART,CHRIS

7.03%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 9 SCHWARTZ,JADEN - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

5.22%

EV

10 MCDONALD,ANDY - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 25 STEWART,CHRIS

4.27%

PP

10 MCDONALD,ANDY - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 25 STEWART,CHRIS - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

3.06%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 10 MCDONALD,ANDY - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

2.86%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 74 OSHIE,T.J. - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

 

As you can see, Steen has played with Backes quite a bit in the lockout shortened season, but never took a regular shift with Oshie until this season. Sometimes, three players who have never played together regularly can still have great chemistry.

 

Another reason could be that playing with regular linemates is helping to build chemistry. This year, Steen is consistently playing with Backes and Oshie almost 57 per cent of the time. In 2012-13, Steen’s top eight lines didn’t add up to 57 per cent.

You can see how it’s paid off for Steen when looking at his line production.

 

2012-13 line production

 

Total Points for Alexander Steen : 10

Str

On Ice Line Combination

Points

%Total
Points

EV

BACKES,DAVID - OSHIE,T.J. - STEEN,ALEXANDER

7

70%

PP

ROY,DEREK - STEEN,ALEXANDER - STEWART,CHRIS - TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

2

20%

EV

BACKES,DAVID - STEEN,ALEXANDER

1

10%

 

2011-12 season

 

 

Total Points for Alexander Steen : 24

Str

On Ice Line Combination

Points

%Total
Points

PP

MCDONALD,ANDY - STEEN,ALEXANDER - STEWART,CHRIS - TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

5

20.83%

EV

MCDONALD,ANDY - STEEN,ALEXANDER - TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

3

12.5%

EV

MCDONALD,ANDY - STEEN,ALEXANDER - STEWART,CHRIS

2

8.33%

PP

MCDONALD,ANDY - STEEN,ALEXANDER - STEWART,CHRIS

2

8.33%

EV

BACKES,DAVID - SCHWARTZ,JADEN - STEEN,ALEXANDER

2

8.33%

EV

BACKES,DAVID - STEEN,ALEXANDER - STEWART,CHRIS

2

8.33%

EV

SCHWARTZ,JADEN - STEEN,ALEXANDER - STEWART,CHRIS

1

4.17%

PP

BERGLUND,PATRIK - OSHIE,T.J. - PERRON,DAVID - STEEN,ALEXANDER

1

4.17%

EV

BERGLUND,PATRIK - STEEN,ALEXANDER

1

4.17%

EV

PERRON,DAVID - SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR - STEEN,ALEXANDER

1

4.17%

EV

BACKES,DAVID - MCDONALD,ANDY - OSHIE,T.J.

1

4.17%

PP

BACKES,DAVID - MCDONALD,ANDY - STEEN,ALEXANDER

1

4.17%

EV

BACKES,DAVID - MCDONALD,ANDY - STEEN,ALEXANDER

1

4.17%

EV

SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR - STEEN,ALEXANDER - TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

1

4.17%

 

 

In 2012-13, Steen had trouble finding chemistry with a line while at even strength. This year has been a different story, as Steen has 70 per cent of his points with the same two linemates on the ice. 

 

So what’s been the secret to Steen’s success so far? The simple answer would be the shooting percentage of Steen and his linemates. Steen currently has a shooting percentage of 35 per cent, third in the league of anyone who has taken at least 10 shots. Linemate Backes is number one, at 42.9 per cent.

 

Obviously, a major regression is coming soon, as he’s never had a great shooting percentage over a full season. Only three times in eight previous seasons has Steen shot above 10%. In fact, his highest is 12.7%.

 

But it’s not all bad news for Steen owners. While his shooting percentage will come down, there are a lot of factors that point to Steen having a career year.


Powerplay

 

Currently, Steen has only two points on the power play. For some reason, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock believes in breaking up his top line when it comes to the man advantage.

Here are the Blues’ top powerplay lines:

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

28.91%

PP

12 ROY,DEREK - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 25 STEWART,CHRIS - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

28.13%

PP

42 BACKES,DAVID - 21 BERGLUND,PATRIK - 74 OSHIE,T.J.

3.91%

PP

10 MORROW,BRENDEN - 9 SCHWARTZ,JADEN - 17 SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR

3.13%

PP

42 BACKES,DAVID - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

3.13%

PP

12 ROY,DEREK - 25 STEWART,CHRIS - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

2.34%

PP

42 BACKES,DAVID - 21 BERGLUND,PATRIK - 74 OSHIE,T.J. - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

2.34%

PP

12 ROY,DEREK - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 91 TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

2.34%

PP

10 MORROW,BRENDEN - 12 ROY,DEREK - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER - 25 STEWART,CHRIS

 

The Blues power play is ranked fourth in the league, all without the top line playing together. So the lines won’t change unless the team really starts to struggle.

Steen is seeing a lot of power play time. His average of 2:13 a game is second among Blues forwards.

 

Historically, Steen does quite well on the power play (last year he was on pace for 18 power play points over a full 82-game season). If Steen can start to put up some power play points, it will help negate some of the regression of his shooting percentage when that starts to happen.


Offensive zone starts

 

According to Behind the Net, Oshie, Backes and Steen have fewer offensive zone starts than any other player on the Blues. Steen starts in the offensive zone just 43.9 per cent of the time. However, he finishes in the offensive zone 53.8 per cent of the time, tops on the Blues.

 

This shows that Steen is trusted in a defensive role, but he’s talented enough to turn it into an offensive advantage. That in part is why he tops the Blues in ice time amongst forwards, at 19:36 a game.


Intangibles

 

For those in rotisserie leagues in head-to-head leagues, Steen can be helpful in a few categories. As a winger (although he can be used as a centre in Yahoo), he doesn’t take a lot of face-offs, but he’s pretty good when he does, with a 57.1 per cent winning percentage.

 

We’ve already covered his power play time, but he also gets a lot of penalty killing time as well, for those that count shorthanded points. His 2:30 shorthanded ice time per game average is tops for St. Louis forwards, and he’s talented and offensive enough to be able to potentially chip in a few shorthanded points.

 

His plus-minus is generally pretty good as he’s only had one game so far this year where he’s finished with a minus-rating.

 

He does hurt your team if you need someone to get penalty minutes, block a shot or hit, but overall, he’s a solid fantasy contributor.

 

A lot of Steen’s success this year will rely on staying healthy. Only once in the four previous seasons has Steen managed to play more than 70 games. That’s got to be a cause for concern for any Steen owners who want to see his success continue.

Steen is also in a contract year, and wouldn’t be the first player in NHL history to overachieve right before a big payday is due.

 

So while a small regression in his points-per-game will most likely happen, Steen is getting the opportunity to play with better linemates, and his ice time means he has a chance to score in all types of situations. Look for him to reach a new career high and break the 65-point barrier this year.


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Comments (3)add comment

coldsquad2002 said:

coldsquad2002
... Steen machine in your dream. History will repeat itself. He will cool off dramactically !
October 27, 2013
Votes: +0

27Blue said:

27Blue
... Love me some Alex Steen. This guy could win a Selke if they ever gave it to wingers. Nobody outside STL realizes how good this guy is. He's the P. Bergeron of the winger world.
October 25, 2013
Votes: +0

El Pollo Peleando said:

El Pollo Peleando
Steen machine Good article. I'd like to add that he is broken up from Backes and Ohsie on the power play because Hitch has him playing the point, where he tends to be the shooter. His slap shot is above average and he gets it through traffic, so if he continues on the point he should pick up a lot points there.

Regarding the injuries, it is a cause for concern, but as I've had him on one of my fantasy teams the last few years, I can also say - from anecdotally at least - that it seems like he's fairly consistent. When he's healthy, he seems to produce, though rarely in those huge quantities that fantasy rock stars seem to.

Steen also stated earlier in the year that this is the first time in a couple of years that he has been 100% healthy, so as long as that lasts I expect pretty good results. Overall, I'd say that Steen is probably someone who is underrated, fantasy-wise (and IRL). You're not going to get much for him in a trade, but if you're lucky enough to have him on your team in a moderately deep league, enjoy it! If he stays healthy this year, I think he's got a real shot at 25+ goals and 60 points.
October 25, 2013
Votes: +0
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