Steven Stamkos: Is This the Tampa Bay Lightning Star's Best Season?

Lauren BurgContributor IFebruary 7, 2011

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 25: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Pete Times Forum on January 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning defeated the Leafs 2-0. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Today is Steven Stamkos' 21st birthday, and he now has back-to-back 40-goal seasons.

Now, the question must be asked: Will this end up being the Markham, Ontario native and Tampa Bay Lightning star center's best NHL season?

In his career, Stamkos has 114 goals—23 his rookie year and 51 to tie Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the Rocket Richard Trophy last year, and barring injury, he is on pace for AT LEAST 55 this season with 28 games to go.

However, goal scoring isn't everything.

As proof of that, Stamkos has stepped up the rest of his game this season and is, to this point, benefiting from it, with 32 assists for a league-leading 72 points. Plus, he leads the Lightning in plus-minus with an incredible plus-14, according to statistics published on

His four points yesterday are also proof of a more complete Stamkos, as he led the team to a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues, and only one of those points came from a goal. He assisted on the other three goals, including captain Vinny Lecavalier's game winner.

Looking at these stats, it can be said that Stamkos is beginning to prove he's an ALL-AROUND great player, not just a great goal scorer. Whether this is his best season is unknown at this point, but he's sure making a strong case for it to be. If he wins a Stanley Cup, it very well could be his best NHL season, but if not, I think he will be looking for ways to improve his game.

What do you think?