Entering the 2020-21 season, Steven Stamkos hadn’t played a regular-season game since he suffered an injury on Feb. 25, 2020. Moreover, he saw just 2:47 of ice time during the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run. You wouldn’t know it the way he has played to start the season, though. Through seven games, Stamkos leads the Lightning in scoring with four goals and six assists. On Monday, he scored his third power-play goal of the season against the Nashville Predators.
This was a momentous goal for the team’s captain, making him the franchise leader in power-play points. Playing in his 13th season in the NHL, the 30-year-old forward has recorded 158 goals and 143 assists with a man advantage for the Lightning.
In Good Company
With a total of 301 points on the power play, Stamkos is in good company at the top of the Lightning’s leaderboard for power-play points. Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis, who previously held the record, scored 300 power-play points during his 13 seasons with the Lightning. Stamkos also leads the franchise in overall goals, 426, and power-play goals, while St. Louis still leads the team in assists, 588, and points overall, 953.
Beyond statistics, Stamkos and St. Louis formed a strong bond during their time together in Tampa. From the time Stamkos was drafted in 2008 to the time St. Louis was traded away from the Lightning in 2014, Stamkos considered St. Louis both a friend and a mentor. When speaking about St. Louis’ impact on him when he entered the league, Stamkos said,
“It was a perfect situation for me to see the work ethic, the dedication, the desire, the mentality he has every time he stepped on the ice for a game day…There were a lot of fun times in between for sure, but he knew when to dial it in.”
Trailing Stamkos and St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier ranks third on the franchise’s all-time power-play points list. Lecavalier recorded 297 points on the man advantage during his 1,037 games played over the course of 14 seasons for the Lightning. In addition to playing more games in a Lightning uniform than any other player, Lecavalier is second in goals, assists, overall points, and power-play goals for the organization. Reflecting on the magnitude of his recent accomplishment, Stamkos said,
“Any time you’re up there with Marty or Vinny in the record books here in Tampa that means I’ve been here a long time and been fortunate to have a lot of success…We’d be here all night probably if I named everything [that he had learned from St. Louis]…just how to be a professional and then how to adapt as a player. If you want to be elite in this league you have to do it consistently, which he obviously was, and just kind of knowing where to go on the ice without the puck. That was something that he really taught me at a young age.”
To be ranked among the likes of St. Louis and Lecavalier, you have to be the best of the best. St. Louis and Lecavalier were the first Lightning players to have their number retired by the 29-year-old franchise. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Stamkos’ number hoisted into the rafters one day, too.
Stamkos is well known for his lethal scoring abilities on the power play. He has scored on a one-timer from the left circle so many times, it has become known as “his office”. Craig Button, a hockey analyst for TSN, once described his shot by saying,
“It’s so fast off his stick and so heavy, that even though the goalie knows where he has to get to, the shot literally beats the goalie…That speaks to how quick he gets it off his stick, how heavy the shot is and how accurate, obviously.”
There is no shortage of highlights of Stamkos scoring on the power play. During the 2018-19 season, he scored a hat-trick, including two goals from his office, on the night he tallied his 700th career NHL point.
Coming into the season, it was unknown how the Lightning’s power-play would look in the absence of Nikita Kucherov. With Stamkos leading the way and firing on all cylinders, it looks like it will be just fine. Power-play points might not be the only record he breaks for the Lightning this season. With 48 games remaining, Stamkos could overtake St. Louis for the franchise lead in game-winning goals. St. Louis has 64 and Stamkos currently has 62.