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Front Office Changes Gives Hint to the St. Louis Blues Plan

The St. Louis Blues announced last week that Alexander Steen will be transitioned in as the next general manager of the team. The move also gives a hint about the Blues plan for their retooling. To recap, the Blues announced that Alexander Steen was promoted to assistant to Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong. Steen will spend the next two seasons learning under Armstrong before officially taking the reigns as general manager heading into the 2026-27 season. Armstrong will remain President of Hockey Operations through the 2028-29 season.

Alexander Steen Will Replace Armstrong as General Manager

Steen has two seasons before he officially becomes the one making decisions for the Blues. The two seasons spent being mentored by Armstrong will certainly benefit Steen. Furthermore, there is actually a bigger benefit to this two-year plan. When Steen takes control of the roster, he may find himself with many decisions to make. Newly named Head Coach Drew Bannister’s contract will be up in two years. Brandon Saad, Kevin Hayes, Oskar Sundqvist, and Nick Leddy will be unrestricted free agents. It can be assumed that another big contract such as Torey Krug or Justin Faulk may be traded before that point. However, there would only be one year on those deals even if they were not traded.

The Front Office Change Hints at Timetable

Steen will go into his first offseason as general manager with the flexibility to build the roster he wants and possibly hire the coach he wants. Perhaps his former teammate and current Assistant Coach Steve Ott could be on his radar. This two-year window ends at a time when the Blues may finally be out of the salary cap restraints they put themselves in. At first glance, the announcement of the two-year plan seemed like an opportunity for Steen to be mentored. However, it is a big hint as to when this team expects to be able to turn the corner and really focus on building a contender without any salary cap restraints.

The Next Two Seasons Will Determine a Lot

While the front office change does hint at the timetable, it does not mean the Blues are going to wait for those two years to come and go. Rather, these two years are going to determine a great deal. Armstrong has shown that even despite the cap restraints, he will try to make the team competitive. Some examples of this include the failed trade attempt for Travis Sanheim and the waiver acquisition of Kasperi Kapenan.

The Blues are unlikely to make any blockbuster trades in these next two years. However, a Torey Krug trade to move his contract would be a big gain in cap space for the Blues. A successful draft can also help pave the future of the Blues. The Blues will want to be ready to contend in 2026 when Steen becomes the general manager seriously. Therefore, Armstrong’s plan should be to see how he can help with that process. If handled correctly, Steen will be in charge of a team ready to win.

The Hints Make Sense

At the 2023 trade deadline, the Blues traded Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly. This was Armstrong’s way of committing the Blues to a retool. The team was shifting from a Stanley Cup contender to a retool. Armstrong has not made any moves since that contradicts that plan. The retooling has not been easy for Blues fans, especially considering it has only been five years since the Stanley Cup Championship. In contrast, the team is on a path to contending again. The hints are there with this front office announcement. In two years, Alexander Steen will become the general manager of the St. Louis Blues. At that point, the former Swedish fourth-liner who won the Stanley Cup in 2019 will get a chance to do it again.

Main photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


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