With big names being thrown around the trade market, background stories can tend to be lost. This is what has happened for the Tampa Bay Lightning since they traded Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has taken a hit to his productivity since the exit of linemate St. Louis. In 16 games since St. Louis left the Lightning, Stamkos has had 10 goals, three of which came in one game, and four assists making for a total of 14 points in 16 games.
While those numbers are not bad, they are subpar for a team captain who gets around 20 minutes of ice time per game. Now, in comparison to the numbers he posted while St. Louis was still with the team, 14 goals and nine assists making for 23 total points in 17 games, it becomes even more obvious that his game is lacking.
Even though the points differential is cause for concern, the plus/minus differential is almost breathtaking. In the 16 games without St. Louis, Stamkos is a combined -6. Comparing this to the +11 he posted in the 17 games with St. Louis, there is little doubt that the loss of his teammate has brought Stamkos down to his realistic potential.
Making matters worse for the Lightning, the percentage of goals against while Stamkos is on the ice has risen drastically. When the duo of Stamkos and St. Louis were holding the fort, the Lightning allowed 42 goals through 17 games for an average of 2.47 per game. Given that Stamkos held a +11 rating through that span, the maximum percentage of goals against his line was 31 percent, or 13 goals. Now that St. Louis is gone, the Lightning have allowed 51 goals through 16 games for an average of 3.19 per game. With Stamkos having a rating of -6 through that span, the maximum number of goals against his line is 20, or 39 percent.
Stamkos has always been highly regarded as on the best in the league, but with this reflection of stats, is he really? Without having a perfect match as a linemate, it seems that Stamkos has become just another player on the ice, and his star potential has left him. He will have to work harder than he ever has before if he wants to prove himself as one of the NHL‘s elite forwards.