May 20, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT
It’s been an interesting three-year ride for Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos.
He came into the league with the Lightning PR team pushing a “Seen Stamkos?” ad campaign that became a punchline when Barry Melrose gave him limited ice time in his brief run as the team’s head coach. That rookie campaign was a bit of letdown overall as Stamkos scored just 46 points, but he picked up steam toward the end.
Stamkos truly arrived in 2009-10, when he scored a career-high 95 points while scoring 24 power-play goals. It seemed like he would have an even better run this season, as he was the only player who seemed capable of sticking with Sidney Crosby during the center’s torrid first half run. Many reasonably expected Stamkos to take over the Hart Trophy race once Crosby went down with his concussion issues, but Stamkos struggled after the All-Star Break. After scoring 67 points in his first 51 games, he had 24 in his last 31 games. Most disturbing was the goal-scoring plummet he experienced; Stamkos scored notched scored just seven goals in his last 31 games after notching 38 in the first 51 contests.
Those aren’t atrocious numbers for a normal player, but for a budding star like Stamkos, it’s a disturbing struggle. Part of what makes Stamkos so promising is his willingness to fight through slumps, though. He has five goals and four assists for nine points in 14 playoff games, a solid output in his first playoff year.
The following video covers the ups and downs of his first three years in the NHL, with commentary from Stamkos and his partner in crime, Martin St. Louis.
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