Steven Stamkos (born February 7, 1990, Markham, Ontario, Canada) is a center for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. Stamkos was the first overall pick in the 2006 OHL Entry Draft, from the Markham Waxers of the OMHA. Playing with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, he scored 100 goals in just two years. After a successful OHL career, Stamkos was selected first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On July 29, 2008, Stamkos signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Lightning, in which he could earn as much as $8.55 million in performance bonuses. In addition, Stamkos has a number of sponsorships, including an athlete's agreement with Nike (terms not disclosed). He is featured in a web-only Nike commercial called Forget Everything which was released to coincide with his first game in his hometown of Unionville on October 28, 2008. He also has an endorsement deal with Tissot watches.
Stamkos played in his first NHL game in Prague, Czech Republic, at the start of the 2008-09 NHL season. He recorded his first point - a secondary assist - in his eighth game, which was against his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. Stamkos was glad to have done it at home: "I think it was louder than when the Leafs scored," he said. "It was great to have that fan support." He scored his first goal the next game against Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres. On February 17, 2009, Stamkos succeeded in getting the first hat trick of his NHL career against the Chicago Blackhawks. Though Stamkos was heavily criticized for his lack of production during the first half of the season, in which he was limited to less than 10 minutes of ice time some games (largely due to a dispute among the head coach and upper management on how to approach the development of Steven in the NHL), he finished the season on an impressive run, with 19 points in his final 20 games. In his rookie season, Stamkos would total 23 goals, 23 assists, and finish with a dismal -13 plus/minus rating.
Prior to the 2009-10 NHL season, Stamkos spent the summer training extensively with former NHL player Gary Roberts, working on adding strength and endurance. Stamkos had a breakout season in 2009-10, being near the NHL lead in goal scoring for most of the season. Stamkos ended the season with 51 goals, tied for most in the NHL with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He tied Crosby for the lead in goals on the last game of the season in the waning moments of the 3rd period with an empty net goal. For this achievement, Stamkos and Crosby shared the Rocket Richard Trophy, which is awarded to the player with the most goals in the regular season. Stamkos is the third youngest player to achieve this accomplishment, with only Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Carson scoring 50 at a younger age. Stamkos had 51 goals in the 2009-10 season, which is 5 more than he had points in the 2008-09 season. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy for a seconde time in the 2011-2012 season.
In January 2011, Stamkos was named by the NHL to play in the 2010-11 NHL All-Star Game. Tampa teammate Martin St. Louis was named an Alternate to Team Lidstrom. Stamkos was drafted 2nd Overall by Team Lidstrom, the announcement was made by teammate St. Louis. Stamkos participated in the fastest skater and hardest shot competitions at the 2011 NHL All-Star Superskills competition on Saturday, January 29. On February 6, Stamkos became the first player in the NHL to reach the 40 goal mark in the 2010-2011 season. On April 23, 2011, Stamkos scored his first two career playoff goals, as well as recording an assist in an 8-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. On May 27, 2011, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Bruins, Stamkos took a slapshot from Johnny Boychuk to the face. The impact broke his nose and bloodied his face, and Stamkos left the ice momentarily before returning with a full face shield. The Lightning would go on to lose the game, and the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup. On June 22, 2011, Stamkos was named the cover athlete to the NHL 12 video game. On July 19 2011, Stamkos signed a 5 year, $37.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On the final day of the 2011-2012 regular season, Stamkos recorded his 60th goal in a 4-3 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets, becoming the 20th player in league history to achieve the feat and the first since Alexander Ovechkin did so in 2007-08.