Stamkos reaches rarified air in tying St. Louis as the Bolts’ top scorer

The Tampa Bay Lightning have had some great offensive talents on their roster since joining the National Hockey League in 1992. Bolts fans have had the pleasure of watching talents like Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven StamkosBrad Richards, Nikita KucherovBrian Bradley, Dave Andreychuk, Brayden PointVaclav Prospal, Alex KillornFredrik Modin, and many more over the last 30 years.

On Tuesday night, Lightning fans witnessed a bit of history as Stamkos recorded three assists to tie St. Louis as the top point producer in Tampa Bay franchise history. In 972 career games with the Bolts, St. Louis scored 365 goals and recorded 588 assists for 953 points. It took Stamkos 56 less games to hit the 953-point mark, with Lightning’s first-overall draft pick in 2008 scoring 472 goals and adding 481 assists in 916 career games.

As a duo, Stamkos and St. Louis gave opposing teams headaches.

Stamkos and St. Louis skated in 385 regular-season games together in Tampa Bay, with the duo recording 820 points with 356 goals and 464 assists during that span. Of the 356 goals, Stamkos scored 218, with St. Louis assisting on 101 of them. St. Louis scored 138 of the goals and Stamkos assisted on 66 of them. The duo recorded the primary and secondary assists on 49 separate Lightning goals.

Stamkos has skated in 531 of his 916 career games without St. St. Louis on the Lightning roster and, despite that, St. Louis still managed to factor into 22.7% of Stamkos’s 953 career points.

On the night that St. Louis had his number raised to the rafters of AMALIE Arena, Stamkos reminisced on some of the great moments the two had together over those 385 games.

“I first met Marty as an 18-year-old kid coming into this league and, I’m not going to lie, it was pretty intimidating,” said Stamkos. “I knew as soon as I met you that you were going to be someone that I looked up to for the rest of my career.

“Maybe not in a literal sense,” Stamkos joked. “But you know what I mean.

“Then about halfway through that rookie year, I got a chance to play on your line and it went by so fast. We had so much success and so much fun that sometimes you forget to really reflect on the things that were important and the things that I admired about you. “

When Stamkos scored his first career goal, St. Louis recorded one of the assists.

When Stamkos recorded his first playoff point, it was an assist on a St. Louis goal.

When Stamkos scored became the 20th player in NHL history to score 60 goals, St. Louis made the pass for the primary assist.

There were so many big moments that the duo enjoyed together as teammates. With one Stanley Cup on his resume, St. Louis was someone that Stamkos looked up to and used to help him become the pro he is today.

“Let’s start with the passion, the work ethic, the attitude, the fearlessness, the perseverance,” said Stamkos. “I mean the list can go on and on, but the two things that stuck out with me the most was your devotion to your family and your love for the game. That was something that everyone respected with Marty.

“When you put all that together, you get something special. You get the ultimate professional. That’s something that myself and every teammate that’s ever played with Marty should stride to become.”

There are a lot of players and coaches in the Lightning organization that were still in Tampa Bay when Stamkos and St. Louis were both members of the team, including Killorn, assistant coach Jeff Halpern, and current linemate Ondrej Palat. The three of them spoke to members of the media on Wednesday and shared some thoughts on Stamkos tying the all-time points record.

“When someone’s able to do that, whatever the franchise is, the little things you see along the way are great,” Halpern said. “Obviously, he scored a ton of points with his speed and his shot, but the thing that strikes me is he’s able to play the game with his head up and make plays, whereas a lot of guys don’t have full vision of the ice.

“He’s kind of developed that over his career. He’s gone from a prolific scorer, and he still is, to a playmaker – a guy who can make those passes and make those plays. Every good scorer or athlete in any sport, they’re able to reinvent themselves in different ways. I think Stammer, from goal scoring to playmaking, has been able to do that. “

Halpern joined the Lightning on February 26, 2008, after being traded to Tampa Bay from the Dallas Stars. Stamkos began his career with the Lightning the following season when Halpern was an alternate captain and a leader in the locker room, along with guys like St. Louis and Lecavalier. Now back with the Lightning in a coaching capacity, Halpern can see the growth of Stamkos, who was already mature for his age when he came into the league.

“He always had a presence to him,” Halpern said. “He always had a maturity to him, even as an 18-year-old kid, and that first year he was surrounded by so many older players there. We didn’t have a lot of young guys in that lineup and it changed the second year, at least I was there, and over his career, but he always had a presence and kind of a maturity.

“When you’ve grown up with that pressure being a top pick or when you kind of develop some of those things early on – he learned how to be a pro and as far as the weight room and nutrition and coming to the rink, but I think it’s been a really good, very smart hockey player and pro. I think he’s been a really good example for every young player that’s come through here for how to approach the game and the benefits of doing things right. “

Killorn has been around for a large majority of Stamkos’s career and has spent a lot of time on the ice with him, whether that’s on the same line at five-on-five or on the power play. Killorn made his debut with Tampa Bay during the 2012-13 season, which was Stamkos’s fifth year with the Lightning. It was the second to last year with the Bolts for St. Louis, who would go on to finish his illustrious career with the New York Rangers. Killorn can see some of St. Louis in the leadership style of Stamkos, after having the privilege of playing on the Lightning during each of the players’ captainscies.

“I think Stammer definitely looked up to Marty a lot and just the way he approached the game,” Killorn said. “I think they’re both superstitious in certain ways, kind of the way they get ready for games.

“They definitely have different leadership styles, in a certain sense, but there are some similarities, I think. [They are] definitely pretty vocal guys in the locker room. Marty was that and Stammer is definitely that now. “

Since making his debut with Tampa Bay on February 10, 2013, Killorn has watched Stamkos score 286 regular-season goals. Despite battling multiple serious injuries, Stamkos has been able to maintain a consistent level of play that Killorn has admired throughout his career.

“He’s been able to be so consistent over time,” Killorn said. “I know, especially with the injuries that he had, pretty severe injuries earlier on in his career, and to see how he’s come back and been so consistent and had such longevity.

“You know, you look at how many points he’s had this year, how great and consistent he’s been – it’s pretty special. Whenever you have 953 points, you’ve had an unbelievable career and you’ve been able to sustain it for a long time. time, so I’m just hoping he can do it for as long as possible. “

After playing on a line with Stamkos for a large portion of his NHL career – Palat has also seen the growth and consistency of Stamkos, both on and off the ice as a player and a leader. Similar to Killorn, Palat had the luxury of playing alongside both Stamkos and St. Louis over his years with the Bolts.

“I mean, they are both great leaders,” Palat said. “You know, they like to talk in the locker room and if something goes wrong, they’re the first guys that will say something to the team, so, yeah, they’re similar and obviously great players on the ice.

“I’ve been lucky to play with him (Stamkos) for a long time. It seems like he’s just getting even better. He’s had a great season. He’s playing well. He’s a true captain and leader. He’s doing the little things right. and that’s what I like about him. “

It’s been a treat for Lightning fans to watch the growth and consistency of Stamkos, a player who will likely be the last to wear a Lightning sweater with number 91 on the back. With Lecavalier’s number four and St. Louis’ number 26 in the rafters, it’s very possible that the next number in the rafters could be that of a third game-changing forward in Stamkos.

The Markham, Ontario native’s fingerprints are all over the Lightning record books. While he’s currently tied for the franchise lead in points, Stamkos leads Tampa Bay in all-time goals (472), even-strength goals (290), power-play goals (177), game-winning goals (71), hat tricks (9), and goals per game (0.52). By the time Stamkos calls it a career, he will likely hold sole possession of first place in a few other all-time categories like games played (needs 122), assists (needs 108), and shots (needs 363).

A two-time Stanley Cup Champion and two-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, Stamkos may go down as the greatest player in Bolts history, but, in his eyes, it’s the man he is about to overtake that set the standard for what it takes to be a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“He was, he still is, and I think he will forever be the heart and soul of this organization,” said Stamkos. “I want to thank you on behalf of not only myself, but all the teammates that got the chance to play with you, all the coaching staff, all the training staff, all these great fans that got to see you play.

“But most importantly, I want to thank you for every kid out there that’s ever been told that they can’t. Because you, Marty, you showed them that they can.”

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