By: Matthew Vandenburgh
If it wasn’t already known that Steven Stamkos has become one of the best players to ever put on a Lightning jersey, scoring career goal number 383 will help prove that point. In what has already been an exceptional season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, that high mark has been reached. With that goal total, Stamkos matched Vinny Lecavalier’s franchise record for goals scored in their career in the team’s 5-4 comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thurs. March 14.
“You don’t dream of being an all-time goal leader of a franchise when you’re a kid. You dream of playing a game in the NHL. It’s a pretty cool feeling. I’m sure it will process more a little later,” Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times.
What is especially impressive for this record tying event is the speed in which Stamkos matched Lecavalier’s mark. Stamkos has only played in 735 games in his career, while it took 1037 games for Lecavalier to get to 383 goals for the Lightning.
Considering the Lightning is a relatively young organization, this puts Stamkos’ record tying event into a fun perspective. He assisted Lecavalier in setting the mark earlier and was also on the receiving end of assists from him when they were teammates from 2008 until 2013.
“It’s a huge honor to be sharing that with Vinny right now,” Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times. “He was so instrumental to me in my career and what he meant to this organization and the whole community of Tampa. It’s pretty surreal to be in company with him right now.”
Tying the all time goals record also puts Stamkos 125 points away from Lecavalier for second on the Lightning’s all-time points list, and 204 shy of Martin St. Louis’ record. If Stamkos maintains his points pace, he will easily eclipse the record to become the most prolific player in Lightning history. It is exceptionally hard to average more than a point per game. Neither St. Louis nor Lecavalier managed it. So far Stamkos has; and at this pace, the record should be his sometime in December 2021.