The announcement was made by the Bolts at a press conference on Tuesday. St. Louis fills the vacancy left by longtime captain Vincent Lecavalier, who was bought out in June before eventually signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.
A six-time all-star, St. Louis is easily the longest-serving player on the Lightning, having been with the team since signing in 2000 after starting his career in Calgary. He’s also the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, having amassed 892 points (including a franchise-best 556 assists) in 910 games, including four seasons of 90 points or more and a 102-point season in 2006-07. Furthermore, his 0.98 points per game average is second only to teammate Steven Stamkos (1.03 PPG) in Lightning history, and ahead of former teammates Lecavalier and Brad Richards.
St. Louis has more than given back to the organization that gave him a chance so long ago. He won his second Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer last season, along with his third Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player. However, the 2003-04 season stands as his finest. He won his first Art Ross Trophy with 94 points, along with the Lester B. Pearson Award (the NHL’s most valuable players as voted on by the players), the Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP), and the 2004 Stanley Cup.
St. Louis may be in the final years of his career (he turned 38 in June), but he has defied age the same way he’s defied the other challenges he’s faced, whether it was his height or compete level in question. In a previous piece, I noted St. Louis could reach the 1,000-point plateau with another exceptional season, but he’s been the heart and soul of the Lightning through thick and thin. His value to the club is immeasurable, making him the perfect fit to take over until Stamkos eventually takes the throne.
For an added perspective, Tasha Meares over at Bolts By The Bay has an excellent piece on the new Lightning captain.