Steven Stamkos has reached his 500th career point, netting the historic marker with a power play goal in the second period of Monday’s game against the Boston Bruins. Stamkos’ Tampa Bay Lightning won the game by a final score of 6-3, landing their first win against the Bruins in Boston since March of 2010.
Stamkos hasn’t had a lot of luck at the TD Garden, but that seemed to change with the Lightning’s come-from-behind victory.
“Yeah, it’s special. I mean…you really never know how much opportunity or how much longer you’re going to be around in the league,” said Stamkos. “You think about all the people that helped you along the way get to this point. And to do it in a game where it was a big goal at the time, and in this building where I’ve had some ups and downs…It was nice to have it come in a win.”
Stamkos is just 25-years-old and he’s piled up 500 points in 495 career games, with 278 goals and 222 assists. He has 95 power play goals, 40 game-winners and two shorthanded markers. So far this season, he has two goals in three games.
Despite this, contract talks in Tampa have fuelled a pretty intense rumour mill as to his future with the team. He’s in the final year of his contract and will earn $5.5 million this season, with efforts to sign him to an extension thus far going without resolution. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent next July and should fetch a pretty penny regardless of where he ends up.
One particularly powerful rumour has involved Stamkos and the Toronto Maple Leafs, but one has to imagine Tampa would look to trade their superstar rather than watch him walk for nothing. Obviously Stamkos is a franchise player of epic proportions, so the question rolls around to who the Maple Leafs would have to give up. And the answer to that isn’t very satisfying if you’re the Lightning.
But trading Stamkos seems a remarkably unwise move for Tampa. Sure, they’ll likely have to put up a great deal of green to keep him. And sure, arguments can be made for the “peak age” of hockey players that suggest Stamkos has already turned the corner despite scoring over a point-per-game.
The point is that you don’t find a player like Steven Stamkos under every rock. There are very, very few professional athletes that perform at the level he does. And despite the “cool” hockey chatter trending toward maintaining a pool of “younger” skaters like Jonathan Drouin, he’s…well, he’s Steven Stamkos. And now he’s got 500 points as a 25-year-old, joining some seriously exclusive company.