Author's Note: This is part of a five-part series detailing players who dazzled with their play and presence while lacing up the skates for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Some are currently on the roster, while others are either no longer with the club or have retired. The other players covered in the series are Dave Andreychuk, Nikolai Khabibulin, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos.
Being a Tampa Bay Lightning fan is not the easiest task in the world right now. After a deep run into the playoffs last season that ended in a Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals to eventual champions Boston, hopes were high headed into this season. With much of the roster intact, there was little reason to expect much of a drop-off.
Unfortunately, the 2011-2012 season has not gone to plan for the Tampa Bay Lightning so far, as their record is 14-17-2 and they currently sit in a distant fourth place in the Southeast Division.
In order to brighten the spirits of those downtrodden Lightning fans, here is a recap of some of the greatest individuals to ever play for the team and who gave fans plenty of reasons to cheer.
Martin St. Louis is kind of like the "Rudy" of the NHL, if Rudy had gone on to be one of the greatest players to ever suit up for his team. Despite having one of the most prolific college careers of all time while playing for the Vermont Catamounts, St. Louis went undrafted, thanks in part to his miniscule 5'7" frame.
After finally getting a shot with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2000, all St. Louis has done is become one of the most reliable and dependable players in the entire NHL. Eight of those seasons saw him put up over 60 points. In the 2006-2007 season, St. Louis broke the 100-point plateau with 102 overall points on the season.
He has been named to the All-Star game six different times, including as the alternate captain for his side last season. He also has managed to fill his trophy case quite nicely, as he has earned the Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson, Hart Memorial and Lady Byng trophies. Oh yeah, there's also that 2004 Stanley Cup season in which he was the single most important scorer on the team, putting up a spectacular 24 points.
Martin St. Louis is also one of the least penalized players in the league, averaging less than 20 penalty minutes per season for most of his career. Lightning fans are fortunate to have been blessed with a player who embodies both performance and character.