A Final Farewell to Steven Stamkos

Steven Stamkos on the ice for the Tampa Bay Lightning
Photo Credit: Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Heart. Soul. A leader, both on and off the ice. An icon in the community. Steven Stamkos embodied all that it meant to be a Bolt.

In 2008, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Stamkos first overall. Since then, he’s been one of the best players to don a Bolts jersey. He played over 1,000 games and recorded more than 1,100 points in 16 seasons.

On the power play, Stamkos posed an additional threat to opponents. His patented one-timer from the left side kept opponents guessing. With Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman on the ice with him, opposing teams had to pick their poison when it came to defending the Lightning.

Last season, Stamkos won the NHL’s Mark Messier Leadership Award for the work he’s done with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay.

Who can forget all of the adversity Stamkos faced and, ultimately, overcame during his time with the Lightning?

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From breaking his tibia in November 2013 to watching his mentor, Martin St. Louis, request a trade to the New York Rangers in 2014, which led to him being named the franchise’s new captain, Stamkos took everything in stride.

A torn ligament in his knee cost him almost an entire season while a late season blood clot limited him to one playoff game in 2015-16’. A core muscle injury contributed to his only being able to play nearly three minutes during the 2020 postseason. In those three minutes, he scored the most iconic goal in team history. That galvanized his teammates who, in turn, went out and won the first of back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Two years later, Stamkos put up 19 points and was a plus-7 in helping the Lightning reach a third consecutive Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately, they fell short of becoming a modern day dynasty, losing in six games to the Colorado Avalanche.

Sadly, the Lightning weren’t able to reach an agreement before the July 1 start of free agency. As a result, Stamkos left for Music City, signing a four-year deal with the Nashville Predators.

That left many Lightning fans, myself included, stunned and heartbroken. One of the Tampa Bay sports radio hosts said it best when he referred to July 1, 2024, as the darkest day in Tampa Bay sports history.

Putting that aside, thank you to Steven Stamkos for giving us 16 years of memories. Good luck with the Predators, and when the time comes for you to hang up the skates, we hope that you’ll retire as a Bolt. Until then, you’ll always be regarded as a hero in Tampa Bay.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Lauren Burg

Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer for “Inside the Rink.” A lifelong Tampa Bay Area resident, she graduated from the University of South Florida’s world-renowned journalism program in December 2009. While in college, she discovered hockey and the Tampa Bay Lightning. She quickly became a passionate fan, attending many games over the years. She also experienced an All-Star game in 2018, numerous road games, and, most recently, the Bolts back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Since graduating college, she’s been working hard to combine her two loves, writing and hockey, hoping to one day make that her full-time career. In her free time, she enjoys attending sporting events (both home & road when possible), taking photos, and traveling.

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