Recently named captain, is Martin St. Louis the favorite to be the Lightning's most valuable player in 2013-14?
The Tampa Bay Lightning defied the odds on Oct. 5 with a come-from-behind road win in the third period against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. They have gotten contributions from names big and small in this young season, but there are a few with better odds to be the Lighting’s most valuable player.
The Lightning haven’t had great odds themselves. They started the year with 33/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. After dropping a 3-1 decision to Boston to start the year, no one can really argue the odds.
Things may have turned up with the win in Chicago. The Bolts travel to Buffalo Oct. 8 before starting a seven-game home stand. By the end of the month, we should have a good idea who will be the MVP for the Lightning this season.
Here are five players with the best odds to be the Lightning’s most valuable player.
Matt Carle is the front-runner on the blue line to be the MVP, but he has some stiff competition above him.
Matt Carle is off to a nice start for the Lightning. He had an assist against Chicago and is even through two games. The ninth-year defenseman is entering his second complete season with the Lightning and looks to earn the expensive contract he signed a couple years ago.
In the middle of a six-year, $33 million deal, Carle is yet to make a big impact on the team. He has hit the 40-point mark twice in his career. The 29-year-old defenseman is one of the best on the team and has the best odds of anyone on the blue line to win this award.
At 10/1 his odds aren’t great, but he could surprise some people with a breakout season.
Ben Bishop had the Lightning celebrating after a tough contest against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Similar performances could catapult him to the front of the pack.
Anders Lindback may have started the season opener against Boston and fallen victim to inconsistent play (shocked?), but Ben Bishop will still be the No. 1 in Tampa Bay. Bishop got the start against Chicago and faced similar inconsistency and a better offense, but he managed to carry the team to a win.
A 37-save performance against Chicago should give the young goaltender some confidence moving forward. Goaltending will be crucial in the goaltender-oriented Atlantic Division. Bishop will be asked to outduel goalies like Tuukka Rask, Carey Price, Jimmy Howard and Ryan Miller on a nightly basis.
If the 26-year-old can continue to perform well, he might be one of the dark horses for MVP.
He lit the lamp against Boston to kick off the season. Quality two-way play could endear him to Lightning fans quickly.
Valtteri Filppula made a great impression in his first game in a Lightning uniform. The 29-year-old center scored Tampa Bay’s first goal of the season against Boston on a nice feed from Eric Brewer.
After a 66-point 2011-12 season, Filppula struggled last year. General manager Steve Yzerman took a chance to bring him to Tampa Bay to replace Vincent Lecavalier.
He has started off well on both ends of the ice with a plus-one rating, two penalty minutes and the goal. The stat sheet may not have Filppula at the top of the chart, but if he performs well as a two-way player, he could be an MVP.
Steven Stamkos hasn't scored a goal yet this year, but he is still making his presence felt.
Steven Stamkos isn’t on pace for another 60-goal season, but he leads the team in assists (two) so far and is tied for the team lead in points (two). The sniper will eventually find the back of the net himself, but racking up the assists is a great sign for the team.
As with the Hart Trophy, a team’s success can play a vital part in determining a player’s value. Stamkos providing assists means that other players are scoring and Tampa Bay is putting up points.
He is a hard-working player, who has already solidified his argument as the best shooter in the game. If he continues to hone his craft as a passer, Stamkos may be bringing home more than the team’s most valuable player award.
The team leader on and off the ice, Martin St. Louis will be tough to dethrone as favorite for team MVP.
No matter the decorations on the uniform, it’s just another year for Martin St. Louis. That’s a great thing for Lightning fans. The new captain of the team, St. Louis is tied with Stamkos for the team lead in points (two), including a nice backhand goal to get the Bolts on the board against Chicago.
St. Louis has showed no signs of slowing down in the early part of the season. He is fourth on the team in ice time (21:13) and is plus-two through two games.
If anything were to start to slow down for the 38-year-old winger, it would be his minutes.
Head coach Jon Cooper is rolling him out there 26 shifts per game for an average of 49 seconds per shift. He is getting older, but he certainly isn’t showing any signs of aging.
Couple his minutes with the consistent production throughout his career, and St. Louis is the favorite to be the Lightning’s MVP again this season.