(photo: The Associated Press)

As if fans were not excited enough for Steven Stamkos’ return to action on Thursday night, they got an even bigger surprise when he appeared on the ice with a ‘C’ on his chest.

“Steven Stamkos was destined to be the leader of our team,” head coach Jon Cooper said.  “The fact that it’s happening now just puts us one step closer to achieving our ultimate goal and that is trying to win the Stanley Cup.”

The twenty-four year old Markham, Ontario native has played his entire career with the Lightning since being drafted first overall by the team in 2008. Since that time he has skated in 390 games, scoring 222 goals and 409 points. With less than five seasons under his pads, he already ranks third on the franchise all-time goals, power-play goals, and game-winning goals lists. He is fourth all-time in points and tied for sixth in assists.

Stamkos is also a two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner as the NHL scoring champion. In 2010 he shared the trophy with Sidney Crosby, but won it outright with his record sixty-goal season in 2012. Since the 2009-10 season, no NHL player has scored more goals than Stamkos’ 199.

On October 4, 2008 he made his NHL debut against the New York Rangers, and scored his first goal on October 20, 2008 against last night’s rival, the Buffalo Sabres. In 2011 and 2012 he represented Tampa Bay at the NHL All-Star game, and was named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team following each of those seasons. He has also represented Canada at the IIHF World Championships in 2009, 2010, and 2013, as well as the IIHF World Juniors in 2008.

In addition to Stamkos being named captain, the team announced that defenseman Eric Brewer will serve as a full-time alternate captain, filling Stamkos’ previous position. Defenseman Matt Carle and forward Nate Thompson will continue to share alternate duties, but will change from earlier this season with Carle wearing the “A” at home and Thompson wearing it on the road.


Lightning All-Time Captain History

Steven Stamkos                        2013-14 – present

Martin St. Louis                        2013-14

Vincent Lecavalier                    2008-09 – 2012-13

Tim Taylor                               2006-07 – 2007-08

Dave Andreychuk                     2002-03 – 2005-06

Vincent Lecavalier                   1999-00 – 2000-01

Chris Gratton                          1999-00

Bill Houlder                             1999-00

Rob Zamuner                          1998-99

Mikael Renberg                       1997-98

Paul Ysebaert                          1995-96 – 1997- 98

None                                       1992-93 – 1994- 95


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