Former Toronto Maple Leafs First Rounder Hired as GM of Blues

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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On Thursday the St. Louis Blues announced that they had hired former Toronto Maple Leafs first round pick Alex Steen as the new general manager of their club, while President George Armstrong signed on for an additional three years.

In the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Pat Quinn used the 24th overall pick to select second generation NHLer Alex Steen and the Winnipeg-Swede would make his NHL debut three years later at the age of 21.

Steen showed signs of eventually being a consistent top six forward collecting 48 goals and 122 points through his first three seasons with the Leafs.

Unfortunately, legendary general manager Cliff Fletcher who made some superb trades in the early 90s was brought back as the interim GM during 2008 and he did not have the same spark he had 20 years prior.

One of the Worst Toronto Maple Leafs Trades in Last 20 years

After trading star defenseman Bryan McCabe and a pick for Mike Van Ryn, two months later Fletcher went on to make arguably his worst trade in his second go with the team. After a slow start to the 2008-09 season, Fletcher traded 24-year old Steen, along with 26-year old Carlo Colaiacovo for 25-year old Lee Stempniak.

The trade was very odd, as both Maple Leafs player were both former first round picks and by themselves appeared to have more value than Stempniak.

Stempniak would go on to play 123 games with the Maple Leafs collecting 25 goals before being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for a prospect that never played for the club and two late draft picks.

Meanwhile, Steen would go on to play 12 seasons in St. Louis collecting 195 goals thanks to four 20-goal seasons, while also earning a Stanley Cup ring in 2019.

Steen retired after the 2019-20 season with over 1,000 career games and 600-points. The former Maple Leafs forward will now take on his first role as general manager in the NHL and at the age of 40 while getting the opportunity of building the St. Louis Blues back into a winning organization.

The Blues missed out on the playoffs this past season by six points but have nearly $16 Million in cap room along with five draft picks in the first three rounds.

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It will be fun to see if Steen decides to tear down the Blues and build his own team or do a quick re-tool to get back in the playoffs. My only suggestion would be to not make the mistake that Fletcher made which was trading the two best players in a three player trade.