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NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

Bad News For The NHL: Steven Stamkos Is Getting Better

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If Steven Stamkos played in a larger market, we’d talk about him the way we talk about Sidney Crosby.

But he doesn’t and there’s no use griping about the lack of credit Stamkos gets as an elite player. That’s not to say that he’s underrated. He may be a bit underappreciated, though. Coming off of a historic 60-goal season, there’s reason to believe that the young star of the Tampa Bay Lightning is getting even better.

Stamkos was a Hart Trophy finalist in 2011-2012. Had the Bolts been a playoff team, he may have garnered some more consideration for the award, as unfortunate as that is.

He finished with 97 points, his third consecutive season of at least 90 and the highest total of his career. The big number there was obviously the fact that he scored 60 goals last season, becoming just the 20th player in league history to do that. But he’s been even better this year.

Per game last season, Stamkos posted about 1.18 points. That was second only to Evgeni Malkin. This season, he’s up at a paltry 1.46 points per game. It’s obviously a smaller sample size, but still extremely impressive.

As far as point production is concerned, there may not be a more important player to his team than Stamkos is. Behind Stamkos, you have Martin St. Louis, then everyone else.

Without Stamkos, this team isn’t even fighting for a playoff spot. Whether you look at his points per game or his Corsi, nearly every stat points to Stamkos being absolutely incredible. He accounted for, literally, a quarter of Tampa Bay’s goal output in 2011-2012. With 20 goals already on the season, he’s accounting for 23 percent of their goal output.

Steven Stamkos is a superstar. That much is already clear. He’s already done some terrific things in his career. But as he continues on down in this league, he looks like he’s getting even better. In a 48-game season, he could very well reach 40 goals. Which would probably be just another day in his book.