Do you remember how Steven Stamkos took the NHL by storm, notching 60 goals in 2011-2012?
Well, what happened to him?
Okay, to be fair, he was going to have a tough time reaching that same mark this season, especially in just 48 games. Stamkos hasn’t come close though, tallying just seven goals in 13 games, with most coming during the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s hot 6-2 start.
Could it be goaltenders know which shots to look for?
Probably. It’s no surprise that most netminders know he’s most lethal from the left point. His game’s evolved over the years though, and now Stamkos is a threat to score from anywhere on the ice.
Are opposing defenseman double-covering him?
Again, this is probably true. They aren’t doing an overly amazing job however, as Stamkos still finds open teammates on an almost nightly basis, thus earning himself points via assists.
It should be noted that Stamkos has gotten better defensively over the past couple of seasons though, with an even plus/minus rating thus far this season. While not wonderful, it proves all aspects of his game are getting better.
Is it pressure, from both the media and fans?
That can’t be doubted, especially after NBC Sports Network analyst Pierre McGuire (to name one) asked if he could score 50 goals in 48 games nearly two weeks ago. Stamkos laughed it off, saying he’d try (what else would be expected from a just barely 23-year old?), but most fans expected somewhere around 30 or 40. We won’t know whether that’s attainable until it’s all said and done.
Anyways, back to the original question. Truly, I don’t believe anything has happened to Stamkos. Sure, he’s having trouble scoring goals this season, but that could be a combination of heightened expectations and the Lightning’s current offensive struggles. Either way, the NHL as a whole should take notice whenever Stamkos is on the ice, because he can single-handedly burn a team.