Is this the best player in the NHL?
Right about now I assume you're thinking Lewis Hughes must be out of his mind—Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin are head and shoulders above the rest of the league.
That is true.
But could Steven Stamkos be a contender for their crown?
Ever since Ovechkin and Crosby entered the league in 2004 and 2005 respectively, they have been considered the best players in the NHL.
They've been given the most publicity of NHL players and have rejuvenated their struggling franchises.
They were both taken first overall in their respective drafts. Crosby is an Olympic gold medal winner with a Stanley Cup ring, and Ovechkin has won the Calder, Hart and Rocket Richard trophies.
They certainly have the credentials to be considered the best in the league.
But very soon, this twosome could become a threesome.
To say Stamkos has played well may be the understatement of the millennium.
Who is the best player in the NHL?
Through 19 games, Stamkos has an outstanding 19 goals and 35 points.
He leads the league in both categories by a sizeable margin and shows no sign of slowing down.
If he continues at this pace, Stamkos will score 151 points and score 82 goals.
He already won the Rocket Richard Trophy last season with 51 goals and seems to be getting even better.
After being taken No. 1 in 2008, Stamkos has in two seasons become the undisputed star of the Lightning, replacing Vincent Lecavalier, and is now the focal point of the offense.
Did I mention he has restored Martin St. Louis' career and made Steve Downie the best offensive pest in the league?
The Lightning look like they've already rebuilt thanks to Stamkos.
If Tampa Bay can get back to the playoffs, it'll be the first time for years to come.
Stamkos is only 20 and has many more years to grow and become an even better player.
As long as Stamkos is still in a Tampa jersey, expect more championship parades in southern Florida.
Still not convinced?
When someone says Penguins or Capitals, what do you think of?
Here's a clue: It's not Evgeni Malkin or Alexander Semin.
Crosby and Ovechkin. Of course.
Teams have to prepare for both those players because they can simply take over and win a game.
Now teams have to do the same for Stamkos.
If Stamkos gets open on the ice with a clear shot at goal, don't be surprised to see a red light flash soon after.
Stamkos is one of the best players on the power play and is incredible at scoring with the man advantage.
When left alone, Stamkos will just go out and win the game for the Bolts.
He is arguably the best pure scorer in the league and has such high hockey intelligence that he'll only take shots that have a legit chance at "finding twine."
Although he doesn't have the credentials Crosby or Ovechkin has (yet), in a few seasons Stamkos will have quite a nice trophy collection, and people will soon start to class him as good as Sid the Kid or A.O. *cough* ESPN.
Will he be as good as Crosby and Ovechkin? In my opinion, yes, but what do you guys think? Tell me in the comments section.
But for now, let's just sit back and enjoy the fantastic season Stamkos is having and the incredible career to follow.
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