There’s absolutely no doubt that Steven Stamkos was brilliant in 2011-2012, despite a down year from the Tampa Bay Lightning as a group.
The Bolts may have finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, after a conference finals appearance in the 2011 postseason, and eight points out of a playoff spot, but few teams in the league could do anything to slow down Stamkos.
The 22-year-old fiinished with 60 goals on the season, the first to pot that many goals in a season in a decade. He had five streaks of at least four games in which he scored at least one goal, and only had one hat trick on the season. As far as pure scorers go, no one was better than Stamkos last year.
Obviously he took home the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer, though he missed out on the Art Ross thanks to an also incredible season from Evgeni Malkin, who finished with 109 points. Stamkos was also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, but the fact that Tampa Bay failed to make the playoffs likely hurt him there.
At this point in his brief career, there is no doubt that Stamkos is elite. He’s probably a top five player overall and is easily one of the top couple of goal scorers in the National Hockey League. But 60 goals is no easy feat. Will he be able to replicate that success in the 2012-2013 season?
The bar is set pretty high for Stamkos heading into the new campaign. Not that he isn’t capable of repeating a season like that with his skill, but there’s a reason that so few scorers, especially in recent years, have reached that 60-goal mark.
Should you expect Steven Stamkos to reach the 60-goal mark again in 2012-2013? Probably not. Is he capable of reaching that mark again at some point in his career? Absolutely. What you can very likely expect from Stamkos, however, is something in the neighborhood of 50, which he’s shown so far in his career is an easy one for him to reach.