Steven Stamkos is arguably the best pure scorer in the NHL when he's healthy. As it turns out, he's one of the best pure scorers when he's not healthy too.
Tampa Bay Online reported that Stamkos spent the last month of the 2011-12 NHL season with an injured left shoulder. If this news comes as a surprise to you it's likely because Stamkos was potentially at his best of the 2011-12 season in the final month when he apparently was injured. He finished the season with 60 goals and ended with an incredible run of 10 goals in the last nine games of the regular season.
Stamkos is set to have an MRI on his injured shoulder but it isn't believed to be a serious injury. Still, the fact he was nursing an ailing shoulder while burning out goal lamps around the NHL is pretty remarkable. Stamkos stated he wasn't sure when he suffered the injury, but he mentioned he was almost forced to miss time as the season concluded.
Could Stamkos have ended the season more positively had he been completely healthy? Realistically, probably not. He scored four goals in four games in April and 12 goals in 15 games in March. The injury simply adds another element of grandeur to the forward's accomplishments.
Looking ahead, what can we expect from Stamkos in 2012-13? In his first four seasons at the NHL level we have already seen him tally 179 goals in 325 games. The past four seasons have seen him score 23, 51, 45 and most recently 60 goals. What will he do as an encore to what was his best statistical year to date?
It seems safe to assume that barring a major injury (minor injuries evidently have no effect) Stamkos is a lock to be a 50-goal scorer. Tampa Bay has built their offense around the goal machine that is Stamkos and will again rely on him heavily in 2012-13. The 2011-12 campaign saw the Lightning score 232 total goals. Stamkos scored 60 of those personally while assisting on 37 others. By doing some basic math, you'll see Stamkos had a hand in roughly 42% of all the goals Tampa Bay scored this past season.
For the Lightning, offense is the least of their concern. It's well known that the club needs to go out and upgrade their goaltending in order to be a true threat in the NHL. Until then, Stamkos' impressive feats, both while healthy and injured, are great individual accomplishments but are going to waste as Tampa Bay struggles to form a complete roster capable of contending for a Cup.
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And how many of those goals did Martin St. Louis have a hand in? Honestly, I'm not kidding in the slightest when I compare these two to the early 90s Brett Hull/Adam Oates combo. Get Tampa's play-by-play guy to offer up a Wilson-esque "Oh, baby!" after particularly slick plays, and I'd think I was 20 years in the past. (Man, have I really been following this sport for 20 years? I feel older now...)
@miendiem If they are able to land a solid goaltender over the summer and a bit of defensive help, look out.
Hull/Oates is an interesting comparison. Stamkos/St. Louis sure make a fun combo to watch each time they are out on the ice. The things I would give to have a guy of Stamkos' quality in St. Louis....and I'm shocked the Blues haven't landed St. Louis out of the pure puns at stake.