That makes four points in three games to open the season for Stamkos -- an important hot start for a guy who just signed an eight-year contract extension after posting his worst scoring rate since his rookie season. Stamkos took 52 fewer shots last year than the year before, but he's ripped 13 pucks on net through the first three games this season. That's a promising sign for the superstar center as he attempts to return to his old place among the NHL's scoring leaders.
Stamkos scored his first goal of the season in Saturday's win over New Jersey.
Stammer fired five shots and picked up two minor penalties in 19:07. He's ready to show the NHL he's worth every penny of that big, new contract, and so far, so good. Stamkos has a goal and an assist in two games so far.
He missed the first four games because of the World Cup of Hockey. Stammer looked like he was in midseason form Saturday night.
He had a blast, especially after missing the 2014 Sochi Olympics because of an injury. Stammer is poised to better his 36-goal output of 2015-16 now that there's no contract distraction hanging over his head.
Stamkos just finished out a five-year deal worth $7.5 million annually, so the star center is only getting a modest raise to stay put in Tampa Bay. Still, it seems that Stamkos has passed up potentially higher earnings with an even greater focus on winning his first Stanley Cup. After the Bolts were ousted by the Penguins after seven games in the conference finals this past offseason, Stamkos said, "We have some unfinished business." Stamkos dealt with a blood clot near his right collarbone that required surgery last April, though he ended up playing in Game 7 against the Pens, plus the issue didn't stop several teams from showing interest in his services.