Stamkos first to reach twenty goals

It took Steve Stamkos until his 35th game of the season last year to score his 20th goal. By the end of the year, Stamkos finished in a tie with Sidney Crosby for the league-lead with 51 goals. This season, it only took Stamkos until his 21st game of the year to notch his 2oth goal of the season, which came tonight against the Boston Bruins as the Lightning skated to a 3-1 victory.

Stamkos currently leads all NHL players with 35 points. His 20 goals makes him tops in the league in total goals scored while Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin are tied for the next highest goal total with 14 a piece with Rick Nash barely trailing with 13 goals on the season. Compared to Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin and his 10 goals are barely on the radar.

Many hockey pundits are already predicting that Stamkos could be the first player since the early 1990’s to score 50 goals in 50 games. Brett Hull was the last player to officially accomplish that feat during the 1991-92 season when he scored 50 goals in his first 50 games of the season with the St. Louis Blues. Mario Lemieux tallied 50 goals in his first 48 games during the 1995-96 season, which was actually the team’s 72nd game, making him the last player to officially or unofficially accomplish the feat.

At this point, Stamkos is on pace to register over 70 goals this season – something that has not been accomplished since Teeamu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny both tallied 76 goals in the 1992-93 season. In fact, Alexander Ovechkin is the only person to score 60 or more goals in a single season in the past decade when he scored 65 in 2007-08.


  1. There are many reasons Stamkos is doing so well. I doubt he will score much over the 51 he had last year. I will give him the bump up to 56. The problem he will face now is with Lecavalier going down teams will be able to better key on Stamkos and shut him down (not that they weren’t already trying to do that).

    I do like the fact that scoring is up. It helps our game go more mainstream as most fans crave goals. You rarely turn into a highlight show and see a bunch of great defensive plays. The occasional goalie highlight reel is run but it is mostly the goals that everyone want to see. You will find that with all sports. Sure the occasional pitching duel or low scoring grinding hockey game is a good watch for the purist or buff. I’m willing to bet the average fan would much rather watch offensive shows. This allows them to keep interested in games with out understanding the beauty and intricacy of low scoring games. The best way to expand the sport is to capture those borderline fans.

    All that being said… Many think that the league is too large right now. The talent pool is too shallow to support this many teams. With competition gearing up in other leagues the players now have options. To have teams as embarrassing as the Islanders, Panthers, and Oilers in the league is unacceptable. Teams can’t all be winners and somebody has to lose but it shouldn’t be the same team all season long. It isn’t fun to watch when one team out and out dominates a bottom feeder. The league salary cap has yet to be able to fix this as it was once thought.

    Congrats to Stamkos for scoring lots of goals. He plays in what is probably probably the worst defensive division in hockey. It is a nice stat pad to be able to play the Thrashers, Panthers, Hurricanes multiple times a year. Washington doesn’t play much defense either. So yes the league gets high scoring displays back and are betting on that helping their bottom line but what are the fans really watching? Amazing abilities by a sure fire hall of fammer or the ineptitude of the competition to be competitive? My take is some where in between.

  2. You certainly put a lot of thought into your response. Take a few of those thoughts and turn them into opinion pieces and we’ll post them on the blog as guest articles.

    As far as scoring is concerned, I agree, fans want to see more scoring and increased scoring may bring over some of those borderline fans. But at what cost does the league try to inflate scoring until it’s just a joke? Do we increase the size of the nets and make it easier for any fourth line grinder to snipe the goalie and score 20 goals a season? The league has made several adjustments to try to increase scoring, like getting rid of the two-line pass and regulating the size of goalie equipment, but they tread a fine line between staying true to the game and increasing scoring just for the sake of increasing scoring.

    In regards to the league, I think anyone not named Gary Bettman will agree that it is too big. But get used to it. I doubt we will see the size of the league shrink anytime soon. The salary cap was meant to help even things out and create a more competitive league, which you also touched upon. In my opinion, it did help create a more balanced league. Look at the Anaheim Ducks. Stanley Cup Champions in 2006-07. Missed the playoffs last year. For them to miss the playoffs, some other team had to come up the ranks and push them out. How about the New Jersey Devils? Second in the East last season. Fourteenth in the East so far this season. Forget the Red Wings, they are an exception to every rule because they draft well and manage their money well. Otherwise, you can see trends throughout the league where teams are good for a season or two (or three) and then they move back down to the middle of the pack or vice versa.

    The teams that you mention – Islanders, Panthers, Oilers – are continually bad for other reasons. Did you know that the Islanders are currently $16 million under the salary cap? That’s enough money to fit, oh say, Alexander Semin and Sidney Crosby under your cap and have room to spare. If the Islanders added those two players, I doubt they would be sitting dead last in the league with 12 points. I don’t say that because it’s plausible for them to nab those players, although Semin is a free agent at the end of the season, I use those players as an example because if the Islanders were to spend a bit of money on free agents they might be a contender. If teams are going to mismanage their salary cap or make bad draft selections, they can’t fault the league for doing poorly. They can only fault themselves. Besides, take a team like the Chicago Blackhawks. The team did not qualify for the 2006-07 playoffs. Add Kane and Toews to the mix, two high draft selections due to poor finishes in previous years, build a team around them, and win the Stanley Cup three seasons later. The salary cap creates parity in the league, but it’s up to each individual team and General Manager to build a winner under the cap.

    And as for Stamkos, I’m not willing to dismiss his accomplishments just because he plays in a bad defensive division – especially because in 21 games so far for Tampa Bay, only four of those games have been against division opponents. Of his 20 goals, only six have come in those four games. In fact, Stamkos managed to register four goals against the Philadelphia Flyers – a team that currently allows the sixth least number of goals per game in the NHL. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that guys like Stamkos, Ovechkin and Crosby succeed because their competition is poor. The NHL has the best talent in the world, plain and simple. These guys just happen to be the best of the best.

  3. I agree with your comments. The cap and the floor maybe need to be closer to each other to make teams more competitive. I think there is a lot to be done on the owners side for rules such as player year limits. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lock up your franchise players but maybe a maxim of 5 year deals. Maybe Limit the number of long term deals a team can hand out. Parity has gotten better across the board so the cap is working. (I will leave out playoff upsets for another debate, which really get to me)

    Stamkos is good, very good. His stats speak for themselves. When Gretzky was setting records it was against a lot of teams that didn’t belong in the league either. There is nothing wrong with comparing stats to other generations. I guess I’m just surprised at how well he is doing so soon with so little hype. Maybe a deep playoff run will put him on the common fan’s radar.

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