Is it just me, or did you expect more from Steven Stamkos? I’m not a scout, so I only saw clips of him before this season. However, with all the hype, I expected more of a Sidney Crosby than just your average rookie. In 8 games, Stamkos has 1 point. That’s worse than 17 of the other rookies (including Jakub Voracek of the Columbus Blue Jackets). I’m not saying that Voracek is facing even close to the pressure that has been placed on Stamkos this season. In fact, none of the other rookies this season have to deal with the pressure he’s faced. Crosby dealt with more pressure (he was on a team without a lot of scoring talent and was immediately revered as the savior of the franchise, part 2) and many rookies have been under the same amount of pressure as Stamkos without having the talent that Tampa Bay has assembled. Granted, Tampa Bay is doing about as well as I predicted, not as many seemed to think they’d do. However, Kopitar was on a worse Kings team and he did great in his rookie season.
I’ve only seen Stamkos play in 4 complete games and a bunch of partial games, but I’m still pretty surprised by his lack of impact on the Lightning. Stamkos was supposed to be the rookie to watch this season and he’s just part of a group that includes 8 other rookies (6 of whom have played in fewer games than he).
On the topic of Tampa Bay… a lot of people predicted that the Lightning would be a great team this season. They were supposed to have the biggest turn-around season by many accounts. I never saw that as likely. I thought Tampa Bay would be a mess. One of my friends asked if I was as upset as he would be if his team did nothing instead of doing what Tampa Bay did (referring to the LA Kings). I laughed and said that I’d much rather be a fan of a team that cares about the future than one that is overpaying a bunch of guys who will have no sense of being part of the same team. The Kings didn’t make a big splash and sell out their future and they’re a fun team to watch this season. They will be able to make an impact in the future and have a good team that is sustainable. I don’t think the same thing can be said about Tampa Bay at this point, though I realize it’s early in the season. Right now, Tampa Bay has the same number of points as Los Angeles, but fewer wins. Both teams are doing better (relative to the rest of the league) than they did last season, but Tampa Bay wanted more out of this season. The expectations for the Kings are much lower, so if they ended the season where they are today, everyone would be happy about the improvement they made and realize their future looks bright. If the Lightning finish where they are now, I have a feeling the fans will be disappointed that they didn’t improve as much as they should have.