Alexander Steen is making a strong case for a larger contract

A recent survey of NHL players from ESPN revealed that Alexander Steen is one of the most underrated players in the league. This isn't exactly new information as Blues fans have known Steen is one of the best forwards in the game for quite some time now. 

Steen's current contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season. What sort of impression would he leave the Blues with before his deal runs out? Based on the team's first four games, Steen is making a strong case not only for a new contract but also for a decent raise.

Steen has been extremely productive in his first four games of the new season. Check out his totals: 4 goals, 4 assists (8 points) and a +5. To date, the team's offense seems to begin and end with Steen. One of these goals was a memorable late winner against the Chicago Blackhawks. To go along with his offensive numbers, Steen has kept doing what he always does: work hard, harrass the opposing defense and play intelligent hockey. 

Steen's offensive totals not only lead the Blues, but they're also some of the best in the NHL. Prior to any action on Sunday night, here's how things shape up:

Steen has as many points as many prominent skaters and in only four games. Will his torrid start continue? Probably not, but he has been as hot as any other player in the NHL through the first couple weeks of 2013-14. He has never scored more than 24 goals or 51 points in a season. This might be a big year for Steen offensively, but the Blues know his true value even if he doesn't stay among the league's best. 

The Blues have already stated they will do what it takes to keep Steen in St. Louis. As they should. Steen's best assets won't show up in the boxscore, but they are noticed. You'll have a hard time finding a forward who skates as effectively and as efficiently as Steen. His engine never stops.

What sort of deal should Steen receive? That depends on his health and performance the rest of the year, but so far he's making a strong case to earn more than his current $3.36 million cap hit.