Martin St. Louis: The NHL's Little Engine That Could

11/26/13 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Nov 25, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) is honored for his 1,000 career game and given a book by teammate, center Steven Stamkos (91) before the game against the New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThere is no doubt that when it comes to professional sports, everyone loves to root for an underdog.

This is especially case in the NHL when it comes to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis. A 14-year NHL veteran at the size of 5’8” has overcome his small stature to be one of the most consistent and prolific NHLers to ever play the game.

There are several reasons why St. Louis, 38, is one of the best offensive players in the NHL today. For the Quebec native, it all begins with hustle.

St. Louis is one of the fastest guys in the NHL today. His small frame enables him to get to pucks faster, blow by opposing forwards and defenders and drive hard to the net for deflections, one timers and loose pucks.

It is St. Louis’s speed that also makes him one of the league’s best forecheckers. When one of St. Louis’s linemates dumps the puck into the offensive zone, there is no doubt that St. Louis is going to be the first to not only get to the puck, but to also create a quality scoring chance.

St. Louis’s speed also makes him a weapon on the defensive side of the puck. St. Louis has always been good at getting back into his own zone to break up plays, start a rush and create turnovers, leading to a scoring chance for his hockey club.

Secondly, St. Louis has always been one of the league’s most consistent players. Year and year out, the one-time Stanley Cup champion (2004), one can find St. Louis at or near the top of scoring not only on his team, but in the whole league.

Last season, St. Louis won his second Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer as he notched 60 points (17 goals and 43 assists) in just 48 games. St. Louis accomplished the same feat in 2004 when he led the league with 94 points (38 goals and 56 assists).

In looking over the last several seasons, one will see that St. Louis has averaged just over 84 points over the last seven seasons. In fact, in those seven seasons, St. Louis failed to hit at least 70 points just once and that was last season (60 points) when there was only 48 games in the regular season.

Year and year out, the Lightning can expect St. Louis to score close to 20 goals and rack up well over 70 assists. There are not many players in this league you can get those kinds of numbers out of but St. Louis seems to be the exception.

Lastly, St. Louis has succeeded in this league because of perseverance. For someone who was never drafted and was not the biggest guy around, St. Louis has gone to have a long and prolific NHL career that includes: one Stanley Cup (2004), two Art Ross Trophies (2004 and 2013), three Lady Byng Trophies as the league’s most gentlemanly player (2010, 2011, and 2013), a Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player (2004), and six NHL All-Star Games (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
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