Tampa Bay Lightning: Martin St. Louis reaches 1,000 game milestone

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning, 1,000 games.

Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have lost 5-2 last evening to the Los Angeles Kings, however, the night was significant for Bolts captain Martin St. Louis who played in his 1,000 game in the NHL. St. Louis was a late starter compared to most NHLers. He was never drafted; had to earn his spot on an NHL roster the hard way.

Martin St. Louis played his first NHL game in the 1998-99 campaign with the Calgary Flames as a 23-year-old. He played 13-games that season, recording 1 goal and 1 assist.

It wasn’t until the 2000-01 season that St. Louis truly established himself as a mainstay in the National Hockey League. The native of Laval, Quebec joined the Tampa Bay Lightning and immediately, his career took off in the right direction.

St. Louis had trouble getting his foot in the door because of his stature; at 5’8″ many thought the Bolts’ sniper was too small to play in the NHL. They were wrong.

1,000 games is an impressive accomplishment in a league where so many fail to persevere through injuries, or lack the longevity to remain effective year after year after year. But St. Louis is an exception.

The millennia milestone is not the only commendable accomplishment in Martin St. Louis’ storied career. In 2003-04 he won the Art Ross as the NHL’s leading scorer. Number 26 won his second scoring title last season as a 37-year-old, becoming the oldest single season scoring leader in NHL history and only the second player to lead the league in points over the last decade (Evgeni Malkin being the other). View list of Art Ross winners courtesy of NHL.com.

2004 was a great year for arguably the best player in Tampa Bay Lightning history. St. Louis won the Hart trophy, Lester B. Pearson award, and was voted to the NHL First All-Star team.

In the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs Martin St. Louis won the Stanley Cup, scoring two overtime game-winners along the way. He was instrumental in the Lightning Cup run, tallying 24 points in 23 games en route to the franchise’s first ever championship.

Other accomplishments: the longest serving current member of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been named Lady Byng winner three times (2009-10, 2010-11, and 2012-13) and he’s played in six all-star games (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011).

There is another milestone looming on the horizon for one of the best players of the new millennium. Martin St. Louis is 67 points away from amassing 1,000 in his career.

Martin St. Louis’ Top 10, courtesy of TSN

Lightning members Teddy Purcell and Nate Thompson talk St. Louis: