There are few certainties in the modern NHL. One of the few certainties is that Steven Stamkos will score goals when he is healthy – lots of them. Now he has a record that proves it.
In his team’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Stamkos notched his 53rd goal of the season, breaking the original record of 52 that he and Vincent Lecavalier shared for most goals in a season in franchise history. Lecavalier set the record of 52 tallies back in the 2006-07 season which Stamkos then tied on March 24th prior to breaking it on March 26th.
Steven Stamkos is good. Ridiculously good. Let’s stop a moment and dive a bit further into the stats to get an idea of just how potent Stamkos has been offensively.
With a handful of games left in 2011-12, Steven Stamkos has amassed 53 goals and 35 assists for a total of 88 points. His mark of 53 goals leads the NHL, besting second place Evgeni Malkin (46) by seven goals. Prior to any action on March 27th, Stamkos finds himself second in the NHL scoring race with 88 points – nine behind the previously mentioned Malkin.
To date, the Tampa Bay Lightning have scored 211 goals (10th in the NHL). Stamkos has notched 1/4th of his team’s goals in 2011-12. Let that fact sink in for a moment. When you add in his assists, Stamkos has had a hand in just over 40% of his team’s goals. It’s pretty easy to make a solid argument that Stamkos has been the single most important player to his team this season in the entire NHL. Unfortunately, it seems all MVP considerations will be thrown Malkin’s way as he carried the Penguins while Crosby was out but that shouldn’t limit any recognition Stamkos should rightfully receive.
It’s important to remember that Stamkos is still in the early stages of his NHL career. The 2011-12 campaign is just his fourth full season in the NHL. In 318 games Stamkos has lit the lamp 172 times and has posted 320 points, averaging out to a goal every other game and just over one point for every contest he plays in.
At this stage, where is the ceiling for Stamkos?
Statistically, 2011-12 is his most impressive season to date. He has already set a new career-high in goals and is just seven points away from setting a new career-high in points. If you’re lucky enough to be able to follow him on a regular basis you’ll see that he often looks like a man in a league of his own. He is as elite as they come in the modern NHL and he is showing signs of improving.
Currently it seems safe to pencil Stamkos in for 50 goals in every season that he is able to play 75+ games. There are few, if any, other players in the NHL we can say that for. At that rate, Stamkos is bound to not only topple numerous franchise records but could be well on his way to besting numerous NHL records.
What’s unfortunate is the fact that Stamkos hasn’t been blessed with teammates that can help him push the Lightning into elite territory. Stamkos is arguably the best offensive weapon in the NHL but often goes overlooked despite his accomplishments because his team has struggled to make the postseason. The common thought is that if Stamkos was on a team that regularly garners more attention that he would be the face of the NHL in the same fashion Sidney Crosby currently is.