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NHL St Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues Will Need To Pay Up On New Contract For Chris Stewart

Don McPeak – USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues head into the 2013 offseason with some of their top offensive talent set to be free agents. As the Blues try and keep their team at the top of the Western Conference in coming seasons, it will be important to bring back some of the players that have had an impact over the past two seasons. The Blues were led by Chris Stewart on the offensive end of the ice this season, and would be wise to bring him back, even if it means a raise from the $3 million cap hit he had this season.

Stewart scored 18 goals and had 36 points, while playing in all 48 games. That amount of production was a welcome sign for the Blues, and was a jump up from the 15 goals and 30 points he managed in 79 games last season. Stewart scored 28 goals for the Colorado Avalanche during the 2009-10 season, and had 28 goals between the Blues and Avalanche the following season. With a lot of young player being thrown into the mix the next couple years, the Blues would be wise to keep a strong veteran presence like Stewart in the lineup.

The Blues also need to work out a deal for Patrik Berglund, who like Stewart was one of the team’s leaders in 2013. They have a decent amount of cap space, but also have to worry about long-term deals for young star defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo. All four players are restricted free agents and while an argument can be made about which defenseman means more to the team, there is little doubt that Stewart is the player they must bring back up front.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.