Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
For two years prior to entering the NHL, Steven Stamkos was a member of the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, where he had a successful junior career before making it to the NHL scene.
The Markham native made his OHL debut with the Sting on September 22, 2006, at the age of 16. In his first game, a 7-3 victory over Plymouth, Stamkos had two goals and an assist. Other scorers in that game included future Penguins star, James Neal.
Stamkos went on to earn five points in the first three games of his OHL career; when September ended, he had three goals and two assists. His hot streak continued into October, as Stamkos had at least a point in 10 of 12 games that month.
He had his first OHL hat trick on October 7 in a 4-2 victory over Sudbury, and had another three-point night on October 28 against Brampton.
Just like October, November was a good month. Stamkos had fourteen points in 12 games, scoring at least a point in ten games played that month and following it up with 15 points in nine games in December.
Stamkos had an eleven-game point streak from December 29 until January 19 and overall ended the season scoring a point or more in 50 of 63 games.
He also had two goals and two assists in the OHL All-Star Game on January 31, 2007.
He ended the year with 42 goals and 50 assists; his 92 points were 12th-best in the OHL and ranked him third among OHL rookies, behind Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner, both of the London Knights. He led the Sting in goals and points, edged out by Ryan Wilson and Harrison Reed for the top two spots in assists.
The postseason would see Stamkos score six points in four games before making his return for the following season.
In his second and final season in the OHL, Stamkos scored 58 goals and 47 assists for 105 points in just 61 games. He led the Sting in goals and points, while Ryan Wilson once again took the assists lead. Stamkos was fifth in the OHL in points and second in the league in goals.
He had at least a point in 48 of 61 regular season games with the Sting in the 2007-08 season and added 11 goals in nine games in the postseason.
After a two-year OHL career that saw him score 100 goals and 97 assists in 124 career games, Stamkos was drafted first overall by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
He made his NHL debut on October 4, 2008 against the New York Rangers and scored his first point less than a month later, tallying an assist on October 28 against Toronto. Stamkos scored his first NHL goal – his first TWO NHL goals – on October 30, 2008 againt the Buffalo Sabres.
He ended his rookie season with 46 points (23-23) in 79 games before he broke out in 2009-10, scoring 95 points (51-44) in 82 games. Stamkos tied Sidney Crosby with 51 goals and both earned the Rocket Richard Trophy.
Stamkos followed this up with 91 and 97-point seasons, and so far has scored 29 points (13-16) in 18 games this season with the Lightning. He leads the league in goals and points and acts as an assistant captain with Tampa Bay, under the leadership of Vincent Lecavalier.
The Lightning next host the Buffalo Sabres on February 26.