While his late season performance with the Tampa Bay Lightning wasn’t what anyone expected, Steven Stamkos is doing a remarkable job leading Team Canada at the 2013 World Championships. They have a 2-0-1 record in the tournament’s round robin stage, and Stamkos’ production is a large reason why.
Stamkos’ 29 goals and 57 points ranked second in the league this season, but a tough April kept him from leading both categories. He now must remember how this success was achieved and try re-creating it with the Lightning next season. That shouldn’t be very difficult given his winger is current Art Ross trophy winner Martin St. Louis.
Stamkos has no previous international experience which could be one reason why he wasn’t named a captain or alternate captain. He doesn’t really care though, instead grateful to just be representing Canada. This is because there were no guarantees he’d be playing, especially following a minor knee injury in the final minutes of Tampa Bay’s season-ending game.
That being said, Stamkos is there and quietly leading the way for Canada. His six points rank tied for second in tournament scoring, only behind Russia‘s Ilya Kovalchuk, the USA‘s Paul Stastny and Finland‘s Petro Kantiola. Obviously, playing alongside fellow NHL players Andrew Ladd, Luke Schenn and sometimes Claude Giroux helps. The fact he got a game-winning power play goal in the Canadians’ tournament opening 3-1 win over Denmark, has to give the Lightning hope that April’s struggles have been left behind (hopefully for good this time).
Either way, Stamkos’ play has been a welcome sight for those who live and breathe Lightning hockey. Now if he can translate it (and avoid injuries), there’s a good chance Tampa Bay will be playing meaningful games next May.