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, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Nikolai Khabibulin.
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.
The Lightning have found themselves with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on multiple occasions, and they usually make excellent use of it when they do. In 1998, they used the pick to select Vincent Lecavalier, arguably the greatest player in the Lightning's history. Ten years later, Tampa Bay once again had the first pick and selected Steven Stamkos.
So far, that pick looks like an excellent one, as Stamkos appears to be the franchise player that the team will depend on once Lecavalier retires. Indeed, Stamkos is one of the young stars of the NHL.
In two of his first three seasons with Tampa Bay, Stamkos totaled over 90 points on the season. Even in his somewhat disappointing rookie season in which his role on the team was not clearly defined, Stamkos still managed to put up 46 points (split evenly between 23 goals and 23 assists).
Even as the Bolts disappoint this season, Stamkos continues to play stellarly. He leads the team in both goals (20) and points (37). He also has a stellar plus/minus of plus 11. Now if only he could get some dependable goalkeeping behind him...