There’s certainly an argument to be made, as Stamkos is coming off a 60-goal season which saw him also put up 97 points. That was good enough for second place in the Art Ross Trophy race, only behind Crosby’s teammate Evgeni Malkin. While it’s true he should have been able to put up over 100 points playing alongside stars such as Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, it ought to be noted that both of those two missed two weeks or more due to injury last season.
2008’s first overall draft choice Stamkos’ game has evolved, with the Lightning superstar now dazzling the league in numerous different ways. He can score by crashing the net, via his vintage one-timer (which is lethal according to many national television analysts), on the power play and at even strength.
His 186 goals, good for fourth all-time behind league greats like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Dale Hawerchuk, is proof of that.
Making new records doesn’t seem to be that difficult for this young dynamo, as he set a new NHL record by scoring five times in the extra session. Dishing it out to teammates so they can score isn’t very hard either, as his 29 points so far this season will tell you. Granted, 13 of those are goals but hey, you don’t win games without finding the back of the net!
Defensively, Tampa Bay’s future has matured greatly by posting a plus rating every season since 2010-2011. Adding to his repertoire, Stamkos began taking faceoffs for the first time this season. He’s not tops at that yet, but everyone struggles in the beginning. Knowing him, that will get better as time goes on.
Pittsburgh’s captain, on the other hand, did spend much of last season sidelined with concussion symptoms, so I’ll be diving a bit further back for his accomplishments. Still a kid in many ways, Crosby won the Art Ross and Lester B. Pearson award in 2007, making him the youngest player to pull off that particular feat. He also won a Stanley Cup and scored Canada’s “golden goal” during the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.
I honestly believe that Stamkos has consistently shown he’s among the league’s best for a number of years. That, along with the willingness to adjust his game as needed, makes me think that he compares to Crosby in terms of best overall player.
What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to comment below.