Sound Of The Note
Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund are two forwards on the St. Louis Blues. Both are from Sweden and both are playing out their respective contracts with the Blues. That is where the similarity ends.
One has used his contract year to catapult himself into the upper echelon of NHL goal scorers. The other seems to be in hibernation. One is on a Brett Hull-esque scoring pace. The other is tied with Phoenix Coyote goaltender Mike Smith, both have lit the lamp once. Yes that is one goal in eighteen games, even Richie Sutter was a little more prolific than this. After nearly a quarter of the 2013-14 season Steen has positioned himself for a huge raise. Berglund, well, not so much.
Before the season, Steen decided to go to his full name, Alexander and now, he has decided to bring his full game. Always noted as one of the best two-way players in the league, Steen now is being mentioned with the Ovechkin’s, Stamkos’ and Crosby’s of the NHL. With at least one point in 13 consecutive games and 17 goals in eighteen games, Steen has been automatic.
Teamed with David Backes and TJ Oshie, they have formed on of the most productive lines in the league. Two of this triumvirate are on better than a point per game pace with Oshie just falling shy with 17 points in 18 games.
Steen leads the way, and the league, with 26 points while maintaining a plus 12 in the plus/minus category. He plays in all aspects of the game. He kills penalties. He plays the point on the power play, His line is frequently matched up against the opponents top line, and more times than not, his line comes out on top.
Steen has positioned himself pretty well for a spot on the Swedish Olympic team with this offensive uprising. Not yet 30 years old and in the final year of a 4 year, $13,450,000 contract, Steen has put in his request for a big raise, a raise he most certainly will get.
Patrik and its Latin derivative means” noble.” While Berglund’s effort game in and game out may be just that, the point production has been more subservient. Noble play will not get him paid.
In the offseason, Berglund and the Note agreed on a 1 year, $3,250,000 contract. His play certainly hasn’t endeared himself to Blues fans and more importantly to those who would give him a raise. 1 goal and 6 points through 18 games is not very productive and not conducive to cashing in.
His linemates may not be putting up numbers like the first line does, but they certainly are on par with players just entering their second year. Both Jaden Schwartz and Vlady Tarasenko have reached double digits in points, and their overall play appears to be a click quicker than that of Berglund’s.
The sophomores also seem to be taking on more important roles, mainly Tarasenko on the power play and the always tenacious Shwartz on the penalty kill. While Berglund’s skating at times appears rather cumbersome, people look past it when he is filling the net with pucks. Now that he is not, Berglund appears to be slow and ponderous with the puck. He does not seem to have that willingness to get to the front of the net like a David Backes or even a Chris Stewart.
Fans like to throw Berglund and Stewart into the same boat. Big, strong players who can’t seem to kick their games up another notch. I disagree only in the fact that Stewart is excelling in other facets of his game. His physical play, his skating, and his energy have been better. He is more willing to find the action rather than vise versa.
Berglund and his demeanor would suggest the opposite. If and when Magnus Paarjarvi returns, I would suggest sitting Berglund, moving Schwartz to center and put Paajarvi in. Let’s see what these kids can do together. Berglund is a streaky scorer. At some point he will catch fire, until then let him sit and watch a few games.