Steven Stamkos has been easy to forget.
Jamie Benn has just laid claim to the Art Ross Trophy. Carey Price has been dominant, garnering Vezina and Hart buzz. Alex Ovechkin has reasserted himself as one of the most prolific goal scorers in hockey history.
Even Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and the will of NHL teams to tank have dominated headlines and social media.
But Steven Stamkos? Nary a headline. Not even after a remarkably successful return from a soul-crushing season lost to a broken tibia:
— The Freeze (@HockeyFreeze) December 5, 2013
But make no mistake; he’s back.
With 43 goals and 72 points in 82 games, Stamkos finished second in the league in goals and 14th in points.
Although his return has been pretty quiet, Stamkos has been impressive in putting together another 40 goal, near-point-per-game season with a strong Tampa Bay Lightning squad. He has demonstrated strong possession, he’s shooting the puck well, and, when he does pass, Stamkos is directly setting up teammates for goals.
In fact, Stamkos has been so good during his seven-year NHL career that he has already placed himself in some elite company.
How good has Steven Stamkos been so far? Here’s a look at some of Steven Stamkos’ work from this season and during the course of his career.
|The Stamkos Super Chart|
|Goals||276 (27th among active players)|
|GPG||0.561 (11th all-time)|
|PPG||1.012 (45th all-time*)|
|SAT% when trailing||51-59.2 (since 2010)|
|Sh% at ES||16.1 (average in 2014-15 = 7.9%)|
|Average Shot Distance||24.8 ft (average = 35.5 ft)|
|A1 vs. A2||22 vs 7 (76%)|
*Stamkos needs two more points for 50o before he officially claims 45th in the rankings.
**Possession stats at www.puckalytics.com. Per game stats at www.quanthockey.com. Shot distance data at www.somekindofninja.com
Breaking Down the Super Chart
— X – @TBLightning (@TBLightning) March 31, 2015
Factoring in last year’s mostly lost season, Stamkos’ quick rise into the all-time greats is remarkable.
At the beginning of 2015-16, Stamkos is set to score his 500th point just before playing in his 500th game. If he continues at his outstanding 1.012 points per games played rate, he’ll take over as the 45th best points per game player in NHL history (for players with more than 500 games played).
When Stamkos does this, he’ll knock American hockey icon Joe Mullen out of the top 50 (1.001 points per game played) and settle in just behind Darryl Sittler (1.023 ppg) and just ahead of Teemu Selanne (1.004).
— TB Lightning Feed (@TBLightningFeed) April 5, 2015
Impressively, Stamkos ranks 11th in NHL history in goals per games played (0.561) for players with at least 200 goals scored. Legends like Phil Esposito (.559 goals per game) and Maurice Richard (.556) rank just behind Stamkos at 13th and 14th all-time. Stamkos trails closely behind the Hulls – Brett .584, Bobby .574 – on the goals per game list.
That’s elite company.
In sheer totals, Stamkos’ 276 goals is 27th among active players – yet, he’s played only 492 games. Among the active players with more goals than Stamkos, Sidney Crosby is the next lowest in games played. At 623.
Puck Possession, Shots and Primary Assists
Stamkos grabs stick from bench and uses it to make game winning goal pass. https://t.co/vLD9XvEfu5
— X – Bolts Jolts (@BoltsJolts) October 19, 2014
Stamkos isn’t a simple sniper, firing Chara-like bombs for top-corner goals. The chart above notes a few of Stamkos’ 2014-15 rates that show how well-rounded the all-around star has become.
This season, Stamkos maintained a 53 percent SAT rate, a mark right in line with the NHL’s best. Other shot attempts stars with similar rates include;
- Sidney Crosby (55.9 percent)
- Alex Ovechkin (53.6 percent)
- Rick Nash (50.5 percent)
- John Tavares (54.7 percent)
- Jamie Benn (54.6 percent)
- Tyler Seguin (54.1 percent)
In his career, Stamkos’ possession rate improves when the Lightning are trailing in a game. The Lightning star has been between 51 percent and 59.2 percent in every season except for Stamkos’ first when the Lightning are down, a mark of possession skill and leadership.
Stamkos also boasts a career 17.2 percent shooting percent. This mark includes a 16.1 percent even-strength shooting percentage this season, more than double the league average.
Though Stamkos boasts excellent accuracy, his willingness to set up close to the net helps maintain his shooting percentage. On average, Stamkos shoots from 24.8 feet out. The NHL average shot distance is 35.5 feet. Closer shots help Stamkos to avoid slumps (read: Phil Kessel, 32.3 feet average shot distance this season).
Finally, Stamkos has an underrated sense of playmaking. This season, 22 of his 29 assists were primary assists, demonstrating Stamkos’ direct impact on creating scoring chances for his linemates. His 22 primary assists rank one behind Jonathan Toews’ 23 and one ahead of Ovechkin (22) and Evgeni Malkin (also 22, in 13 fewer games). It’s this playmaking ability that has Stamkos in position to join the NHL’s top 50 points-per-game players early next season.
Don’t Forget About Stammer
— X – @TBLightning (@TBLightning) April 9, 2015
In a season filled with storylines, the return of Steven Stamkos to greatness after his devastating injury was missed. But the 25-year-old Tampa Bay star is back and his resume is growing stronger by the day. Stamkos is set to join the 500 points club early next season. A full season removed from injury, Lightning fans can expect their star centre to continue pushing his way into the list of all-time NHL greats.
What do you think, Lightning fans? Did Steven Stamkos look fully recovered to you this season? Or, does the young sniper have even more to give in the post-season and next year?