Although Steven Stamkos managed to return from a broken tibia on March 6, he wasn’t 100 percent. After spending the summer continuing his recovery and getting ready for the 2014-15 campaign, he’s starting to feel like he used to.
“I think it’s that first couple steps, that explosiveness that is a big part of my game,” Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times. “I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in that regards. … You don’t realize how much that has an affect on your game until you go through an injury like that and you find yourself protecting that spot a lot of instead of thinking maybe the next play, which I usually do. I’m in a better state that way as well.”
As always, the bar will be set incredibly high for Stamkos. He’s just 24 years old and has already won the Rocket Richard Trophy twice and has a 60-goal campaign under his belt. He might have even flirted with 50 goals in 50 games last season had he not gotten hurt, given that he started with 14 goals in 17 contests.
This will also be his first full season as the team’s captain and the pressure on him to lead the offense has never been greater given the 2013-14 trade deadline departure of Martin St. Louis.