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Steven Stamkos replaces Martin St. Louis as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning

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When Steven Stamkos returned from injury on March 6, he did so with a new letter adorning his jersey.

His first game since breaking his tibia in November, Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres also marked the 24-year-old Stamkos’ first game as captain for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Steven Stamkos was destined to be the leader of our team," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "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."

Stamkos replaces his former linemate Martin St. Louis as captain for the Bolts. St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers on Wednesday for their former captain Ryan Callahan and draft picks, after the 38-year-old veteran requested to be moved to the Big Apple.

Stamkos has 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in only 18 games for the Bolts this season

Eric Brewer, Nate Thompson and Matthew Carle will serve as assistant captains for the Lightning. With 73 points, Tampa Bay currently sits in the first wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

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