Lightning in a Bottle

Tim Lucarelli




It's no surprise that the Tampa Bay Lightning are strong second half performers, as a team. More specifically, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, who are usually paired together, really pave the way for significant fantasy outputs. This year there's something a little different going on in Tampa though. Sure, the team is poised for another strong late season push, but this time St. Louis and Stamkos are split apart. Let's take a look at the net result.


First, we'll look at Steven Stamkos. Heading into the first week of January, Stamkos was sixth in the league in points, scoring 45 points in 40 games (1.13 points/game). He was also shooting 3.5 shots per game (285-shot pace). From January 8th and on, Stamkos has 17 points in 15 games (1.13 points/game). His shots are up slightly, shooting 3.7 per game or a 306-shot pace, but the points are near identical.


Stamkos has recently been spotted skating without Martin St. Louis, and instead lining up with Steve Downie and Teddy Purcell. What has the effect been? Steve Downie has nine points in his last 11 games and Purcell has 11 in his last 12 games. Clearly, the offense is spreading in Tampa Bay. Stamkos is still primed for that second half surge, but there are others who are benefitting from it as well.


On the other side of the coin, Martin St. Louis must not have liked the fact that his name was left off the All Star roster this year. Leading up to the first week of January, St. Louis was scoring at a respectable 73-point pace (0.89 points per game), which was 57th most in the league. Since then, St. Louis has been on fire, scoring 19 points in his next 15 games (tied for 2nd-most in the league) and more importantly, on pace for 104 points during that stretch. St. Louis' shots per game have actually decreased, but he is already starting his second half run.


What has been the net result of St. Louis' production increase? Just as with Stamkos, St. Louis' linemates are seeing a surge. This time, St. Louis is skating with a familiar old friend in Vinny Lecavalier, and the third wheel has been rotating between Tom Pyatt, Ryan Shannon, and Brett Connolly, among others. Lecavalier is certainly seeing the biggest boost though, as prior to being reunited with MSL, Vinny had only 28 points in 40 games (0.7 points/game and a 57-point average). Since the change, Lecavalier is back among the league leaders, scoring 17 points over his next 15 games and being tied with Stamkos (and Erat) for the sixth-most in the league.

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