As We Continue To Evaluate Players On The Tampa Bay Lightning, We’ll Take A Deeper Look Into Superstar Winger Steven Stamkos
As touched on in my Nikita Kucherov season evaluation, Tampa Bay had a historic season, breaking a ton of records on their way to 62 wins in the regular season. That being said, there had to be more than just Kucherov who stood out. Who else was an x-factor? How about their captain, Steven Stamkos.
Like Kucherov, Stamkos played all 82 games this season, where he recorded 45 goals (0.55 goals per game), and 53 assists (0.65 assists per game), which totals 98 points (1.2 points per game). That was a career-high in points for Stamkos, which is crazy because he has had some stellar seasons in the past.
He ranked fourth in the league in goals, tied for 22nd in assists and ninth in points this season. He had a 51.7 Corsi-For% (CF%) and a 51.4 Fenwick-For% (FF%). He averaged 18:18 Time on Ice (TOI), starting 54.8% of his shifts in the offensive zone. He had a takeaway to giveaway ratio of 28 to 60, which is not exactly great, but he did drive the offense well. Touched on in my last article, PDO is a measure of luck, and a 1.000 and up is good luck while under that number is bad luck. Stamkos registered a 1.009, meaning he was a little bit lucky, but not like Kucherov.
On the surface, it seems as though Stamkos (who had a bad takeaway to giveaway ratio), may not have had a great season outside of the offensive zone. But do the advanced analytics back that up? Let’s look at my own created visuals to see his advanced stats compared to that of Kucherov.
Stamkos was spectacular when it came to his shooting categories, as pictured above, although shooting less and not generating as much offense off his shooting like Kucherov despite scoring more goals. But what really sticks out is his transition game. He struggles exiting the zone, and isn’t quite there compared to Kucherov entering the offensive zone either. With that being said, we should dive a little bit deeper into his exiting statistics, using CJ Turtoro’s Exits per 60 minutes visual.
The ranking is a bit wacky here, but Stamkos is the 15th best player on the Lightning in terms of breaking out of the defensive zone, which is not particularly good. Ryan Callahan, despite playing fewer games due to being the healthy scratch throughout the regular season, is ranked higher.
Stamkos very rarely is the one taking the puck out, but he fails just as often as he passes it out and skates it out, which is not good. It’s concerning to see this, because maybe if he was a bit better he could’ve produced more offensively, similar to Kucherov.
Kucherov had 30 points more than Stamkos, and it’s evident that his breakout transition is far better as he ranked first on the team. So if Stamkos was better at getting the puck out and up ice, maybe he could’ve hit the 100-point mark this season.
Now, let’s look at CJ Turtoro’s Entries per 60 minutes visual on Stamkos.
Stamkos ranks 5th on the Lightning roster when it comes to entering the offensive zone. He just as often passes to a teammate to enter the zone, as he does carry it in himself and dump it in deep. He doesn’t fail entering the zone very often, but just like breaking out of the defensive zone, he usually isn’t the one breaking into the offensive zone.
It appears to me that Stamkos doesn’t do so much in the transitional aspect of hockey, which is again concerning. He seemingly sits back and allows his teammates to do the dirty work while he does what he does best; score or set up teammates with outstanding passes.
He is an offensive guru, which is why he has earned the reputation of one of the better players in the National Hockey League today. But he is not good in transition, and he needs to apply himself a little more. If Kucherov’s advanced analytics tells me anything, it’s that the better your transition is, the better chances your bound to have to put up more points.
Stamkos is a leader, and very hard to stop with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. He’s hard to stop with the puck on his stick in general. The problem is, he doesn’t seem to possess the puck very often when he isn’t on the attacking end and scoring goals.
This is something that can be improved upon, however, and once he betters his transition game, the sky’s the limit for what he produces offensively. I am super excited to see what he has in store for next season! Next player evaluation will be on Brayden Point.
All Stats via hockey-reference
The Spider Charts used Data from CJ Turtoro, created by Kyle Pereira
Exit/Entry Visuals from CJ Turtoro
Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals