Steven Stamkos’ highs and lows at regular season shootout has been previously documented in this series. There is a lot of pressure when those attempts have actual meaning behind them and can result in a win or a loss for your team. What if the stakes weren’t so high? Would there be a little more creativity, or would Stamkos, and his unrelenting desire to win, forego theatrics for actually putting the puck past the goalie?
There are two real life moments where Stamkos had a chance to answer this very unimportant question. Once as a young teenager widely seen as a future number one pick in the NHL and the the second as a high-scoring NHL sophomore.
After being drafted first in OHL, Steven Stamkos went on to have a strong season for the Sarnia Sting, leading the team in scoring and being named to the All-Star Game. During the All-Star festivities he was selected to participate in two competitions. The first was the fastest skater competition. He did not fare well:
Don’t worry Steven, even Olympic athletes can have a hard time making those turns.
Luckily for Stamkos, that fall was pretty much forgotten thanks to the move he pulled off in the second competition, the shootout.
Stamkos knew he had to redeem himself, telling the Hockey News,
“I thought 'I need something to redeem myself so the fans don't remember me as the guy who fell,’ I tried it and was fortunate enough that it worked… Everyone forgot that I fell and kept asking me about the move, so it paid off.”
The goalie that Stamkos abused was Andrew Perugini, netminder for the Barrie Colts. In an odd twist of fate, the two would end up teammates after the Sting acquired the netminder at the trade deadline in a deal that may or may not have included Matt Martin.
The behind-the-back goal was very pretty. But that wasn’t the only weapon in the young Stamkos’ arsenal. Following his successful attempt, he demonstrated some other moves he had in his repertoire, as well as the inspiration for the move (Rob Schremp, this will forever be your legacy).
Many years later, Steven Stamkos would participate in another skills competition, this time at a much higher level. In 2012, at the NHL All Star Game in Ottawa, a long-haired, backwards-hat-wearing Stamkos would get three attempts during the shootout. Would he dig back into his back of OHL tricks to beat Carey Price and Tim Thomas?
Nope. Well, the spin-o-rama is a classic, but the other two were brand new and probably legal for an actual regular season shootout (not as nifty as Nikita Kucherov’s though).
He added to his All Star shootout tallies in 2016 during the Shootout Challenge. This relay relied more on speed then creativity, but Stamkos still buried his one shot.
So, the answer to the question? Much like Stamkos himself, a little bit of both. The OHL goal was very flashy while the NHL ones lacked the pizazz of PK Subban in a Jagr wig or Lil’ Burns scoring, but they actually worked.