Steven Stamkos is already one of the NHL‘s best scorers, but he does more than just score highlight reel goals.
Coming off a season which saw him score 60 times yet miss the postseason, he’s now on a mission to return himself and his Tampa Bay Lightning back to the playoffs. After beginning somewhat slow it now seems to be paying off, as Stamkos has come up big in an effort to keep his suddenly struggling team afloat. His 14 goals and 30 points both lead the league also, though he shares the point leadership with Sidney Crosby, and that earned him NHL Second Star of the Week honors.
What got him going? I’m not really sure but my guess would be he realizes team scoring is suddenly a bit low. Plus, there’s the fact that Ryan Malone‘s injury caused some line shuffling, and Stamkos is now spending lots of time playing alongside two extra talented playmakers in Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell. He also has some playoff experience from 2011, where the Lightning came within one goal of advancing to the Stanley Cup finals, and wants nothing more than to get back there.
With the bitter taste from barely falling short two years ago, then missing out altogether last season, Stamkos will do everything in his power to not only get back but hopefully receive his first glorious memory. Will he receive it? While possible, everything from now forward will have to favor both him and the Lightning, something which realistically isn’t likely. He’s determined, but unable to carry the team alone.
Either way, Stamkos is still a player who can burn you in many different ways, so giving him time and space could play into the Lightning’s hands. Then again, playing with guys like Purcell, St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Benoit Pouliot, Cory Conacher and Malone (once healthy) probably makes other teams feel like they’re playing a game of pick your poison, and that could ultimately end up helping the team make their postseason return.