Top 5+1 One and Done Lightning: #1 Cory Stillman
Stillman was here for one year, and it was a big one. A Stanley Cup winning one.
One of our sister sites, Habs Eyes on the Prize, recently did a series of the top five one-and-done Canadiens players since 2000. Since it seemed like a fun idea, we decided to do the same over here at RawCharge, except we’re going all the way back to the start of the franchise. This is a little easier for us to do that than the Habs with their long and storied history. Special thanks to Andrew Zadarnowski of HEOTP for having the idea and allowing us to run with it.
We’ve come to our number one One and Done Tampa Bay Lightning player: Cory Stillman. For his 10th season in the NHL, the former 6th overall draft pick was acquired in June of 2003 from the St. Louis Blues for a 2nd round pick. The Tampa Bay Lightning were looking for a winger to bolster their forward corps and gave up a draft pick that became David Backes. Backes has turned into a quality NHLer, but given that the Lightning won the Stanley Cup the season Stillman played with them, it’s hard to regret making the trade.
Originally drafted in 1992 by the Calgary Flames, he came to the Lightning already having five seasons of 20 goals and 40 points. He was also coming off of a season of 24 goals and 67 points with the St. Louis Blues. He also brought 32 games of playoff experience to the Lightning locker room.
Stillman found a spot on the Lightning’s top line, playing with Vincent Lecavalier and Ruslan Fedotenko and replacing the departing Vinny Prospal. The previous season, Prospal had contributed 22 goals and 79 points. Stillman filled the hole on the left wing admirably, putting up 25 goals and 80 points. His 25 goals weren’t quite a career high with two previous seasons of 27 goals, but his 80 points did set a new career high that would stand for the rest of his career. He would also outscore both of his linemates.
His 25 goals were 5th on the team, but his 80 points were second on the team behind Martin St. Louis. Stillman faded in the playoffs, though, with only two goals and seven points in 21 games. He didn’t play in game five of the first round series against the New York Islanders and was also out of the line-up for game five in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Calgary Flames. He only had one assist in the Stanley Cup Finals, but it came on an important one as he had a secondary assist on Fedotenko’s second goal in Game 7.
Finishing his one-year contract with the Lightning, and going through the 2004-05 lockout without playing anywhere, Stillman signed with the Carolina Hurricanes for the 2005-06 season. He put up another impressive season for the Canes with 21 goals and 76 points. He followed it up with a much better playoffs than with the Lightning with nine goals and 26 points in 25 games. He would earn another Stanley Cup championship with them.
Stillman would continue on with a solid finish to his career playing with the Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, and Florida Panthers. Stillman retired after the 2010-11 NHL season. He finished his career with 278 goals and 727 points in 1,025 games played and two Stanley Cup Championships. He was never an All-Star and never won a major award while being a solid player throughout the entirety of his career.
After his playing career, he became a development coach with the Panthers for a season before returning the Hurricanes organization as Director of Forwards Development for five seasons. He landed a job as the head coach of the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL for the upcoming season.
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