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Friday March 26, 2010 2:12 pm

Stamkos is just as good as the best

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Steven StamkosSteven Stamkos is on a mission. That mission is to help the Tampa Bay Lightning get a playoff spot. If he happens to win the goal-scoring title along the way, great. Stamkos scored twice against Boston on Thursday night in a 5-3 Lightning win and tied himself with two of the greatest names in hockey, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, for first on the goal-scoring list. The three are competing for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, which is awarded to the top goal scorer in the NHL; an honor that Ovechkin has won for the last two seasons.

When talking about the greatest players in the world, most people instantly start saying Crosby or Ovechkin. One is a Canadian touted as the “face” of hockey who has carried his team to a Stanley Cup championship. The other is a scoring phenomenon who has won the Calder, Lester B. Perason, Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies, some multiple times. It’s not a stretch to say that in the next couple of years, we might be putting Stamkos in the same league as Sid the Kid and the Great Eight.

As the first overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, Stamkos made an impact with the Lightning. He played in 79 games in the 2008-09 season with Tampa Bay, scoring 23 goals and 46 points total. He missed out on winning the Calder Memorial Trophy. That award when to Columbus’ rookie goalie Steve Mason. Through 74 games so far this season, his 45 goals almost eclipses his points total from last year, but he also has 41 assists to add.

Stamkos, Crosby and Ovechkin are all No. 1 overall picks, and all have taken, or are taking, similar paths to success. Despite Stamkos’ offensive production, his Lightning still sit six points out of a playoff spot. It may not click this year for Tampa Bay, but it may not be unreasonable to suggest that the Lightning may be back in the playoffs as early as next season, and become strong competitors in the Eastern Conference for years to come. With a superstar like Stamkos on the ice, it’s always just a matter of time.



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