With the Lightning re-signing captain Steven Stamkos to a new eight-year, $68 million contract on Wednesday, we take a look at five of the most memorable highlights from his career in Tampa Bay thus far.
June 20, 2008 - Bolts take Stamkos No. 1 overall
Owning the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft for the first time since taking Vincent Lecavalier in 1998, the Lightning followed a decade later by selecting another future franchise cornerstone in Stamkos. Widely acclaimed as the draft’s top player going in, Stamkos came to the Bolts from the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, where he starred with 58 goals over 61 games in his final season at the junior level before the draft.
October 30, 2008 – The first (two) of many
A game after nabbing his first NHL point with an assist against the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, Stamkos scored his first goal at Buffalo – on the power play, nevertheless – on a deflection in front of the net in the second period. Then, five minutes later, Stamkos found the back of the net again, beating Ryan Miller with a slap shot to the top-right corner in an eventual 5-2 victory.
April 11, 2011 – Cementing his name with the best
In only his second year in the NHL, Stamkos put his name among the top players by earning a share of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with Alex Ovechkin as the league’s top goal scorer. With 51 goals, Stamkos joined Lecavalier in 2006-07 as the only Lightning players to win the award. Stamkos won the award outright in 2012, scoring a franchise-best 60 goals.
March 6, 2014 – ‘O, Captain! My Captain!’
Following the trade of Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in 2014, Stamkos donned the “C” for the first time against Buffalo at Amalie Arena. For Stamkos, the 10th captain in franchise history, the night was even more special as he returned to the ice for the first time since breaking his right leg nearly four months earlier.
May 29, 2015 – Stammer helps lead Bolts back to Final
On the heels of tying a franchise milestone by becoming the first Lightning player to score in four consecutive playoff games during a Game 5 win against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, Stamkos and the Lightning clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Final two games later on the road. It was the team’s first trip to the final since its lone championship in 2004. Though the Bolts were defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks in six games, Stamkos finished with seven goals and 11 assists during the memorable postseason run.