Steven Stamkos on the verge of joining elite company

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From NHL.com columnist John Kreiser comes this tidbit:

Stamkos is two goals away from becoming the NHL’s first 50-goal scorer this season. When he does, he’ll join an elite group of six players who’ve had multiple 50-goal seasons before their 23rd birthday (he turned 22 on Feb. 7).

Wayne Gretzky did it four times; Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Joe Nieuwendyk and Alex Ovechkin each had two seasons with at least 50 goals before turning 23.

As that excerpt suggests, Stamkos is having a pretty solid year. His 48 goals have put him 10 clear of the NHL’s second-leading sniper, Evgeni Malkin, and re-ignited Hart Trophy discussions that were long thought to be done.

Some other notes about Stamkos’ scoring spree:

— That 10-goal cushion atop the Rocket Richard Trophy race is huge. In 2011-11 Corey Perry (50) beat Stamkos (45) by five goals; in 2009-10 Stamkos and Sidney Crosby tied with 51 goals while Alex Ovechkin finished with 50…you have to go all the way back to 2008-09 for a similar disparity between No. 1 and No. 2. That year, Ovechkin led the NHL with 56 goals while Jeff Carter finished second, with 46.

— Another tidbit from the NHL.com piece: Stamkos’ 144 goals are the most by any player since the start of 2009-10. Perry is next with 111, two more than Ovechkin.

— Should Stamkos get to 50 this year, it’ll be the second 50-goal campaign of his career. That’ll make him just one of seven active NHLers with multiple 50-goal seasons, joining Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley and Ovechkin.

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