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Lightning GM Steve Yzerman clears the air over Steven Stamkos

Jul 11, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Steve Yzerman, Jeff Vinik AP

Steve Stamkos‘ status as an unsigned restricted free agent in Tampa Bay is starting to make everyone feel a bit silly these days. With Stamkos still without a new contract and the rest of the summer staring everyone in the face and no real timeline to get a deal done, the idle time in between has led to some creative rumors being spawned saying that Stamkos will somehow be traded so he can be signed elsewhere. Already this summer we’ve heard about Philadelphia’s interest in Stamkos (later debunked by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren) and where there’s an available superstar there’s always the rumors about them going to Toronto as well.

Such is life for Stamkos these days while he and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman try to work out a deal to keep him in Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future. Rumors are what they are but all along we’ve been told that Stamkos will be eventually re-signing with the Lightning and that there’s no way he’s going to be traded.

Thankfully, Yzerman decided to reaffirm those thoughts once again for everyone that’s still having a hard time digesting the reality of the situation. Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes gets the scoop from the Lightning GM about just how silly these rumors are.

“I talk to general managers on a daily basis and get asked a lot, ‘How are you making out?’ But that’s about all,” Yzerman said.

Has anyone come up with a proposal? “Absolutely not. I’m not interested in discussing a possible trade. I’m committed to re-signing Steven.”

Has anyone said they would be interested if negotiations broke down? “They don’t have to say that,” he said, laughing. “Every team is interested in Steven Stamkos.”

Bottom line? “I’m confident,” Yzerman said, “we will reach an agreement.”

So to break it down: Everyone wants Stamkos, no one is asking about trading for him, the Lightning aren’t listening to any proposals if they even existed, and they’re going to do everything they can to keep him in Tampa Bay as a member of the Lightning. That seems pretty easy to understand then.

For things to get to the point where the Lightning had to entertain offers for Stamkos he would have to be demanding so much money that there was no way the Lightning would be able to compete with such a huge contract on the books. It’s that or Steve Yzerman gets possessed by evil spirits or Stamkos directly insults all the team executives to their faces would make that possibility happen and he strikes us as a rather polite guy.

The sole threat to Tampa Bay’s efforts to re-signing Stamkos still remains an offer sheet from a competing team, but given how reticent opposing GMs are to going that route to grabbing a player and how Tampa Bay has promised to match any and all offers, it seems like a fruitless endeavor. For now, it’s all about patience for everyone involved from Stamkos and his agent on down to the fans.

Patience is a virtue and many aren’t blessed with that, especially during the summer when the free agent market is scarce of top end talent. If teams aren’t going to force the issue, then we’ll be waiting a bit for things to get done. After all, training camp doesn’t start until September and that’s when it’ll be imperative for Stamkos to be around.  For now, we wait for the league’s latest huge star to get locked up to a big contract whether we like waiting or not.

  1. skoobyfl - Jul 11, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    He’s going to the Buffalo Sabres because making an extra $20 Million over the first 3 years seems like a good idea right now, Tampa is light on the $ for Vincent to keep as well. You’d be suprised how $20 extra Million motivates a player, especially a hockey player where one wrong turn is a career.

    • hystoracle - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:20 PM

      How do they fit that under the cap? Buffalo is right at the cap with no space. How do you propose they make room for a $20 mil salary? The only time Stamkos will be in Buffalo this season is the two times the Lightning have to make a trip there. Why aren’t there all these crazy deals being bantered about Doughty? He is in the same position with the Kings.

  2. leafsguy - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    ‘The sole threat to Tampa Bay’s efforts to re-signing Stamkos still remains an offer sheet from a competing team…’

    Actually, that’s not the sole threat… the fact is, Steven Stamkos prefers to play in Toronto, where he is from, where he can maximize his endorsement/earning potential. Tampa Bay, as talented a team as it is, cannot compete. Newport Sports, the agence that represents Stamkos is based in Toronto, and if they’re providing their client with the right advice then he will eventually be playing with the Leafs. Toronto, just happens to be the biggest Hockey Market in the world, so it only makes sense for Stamkos to play there.

    Stamkos will be traded to the Leafs likely by November/December…

    • Mike S. - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      Who does the Maple leafs have trade that would interest Tampa for Stamkos???Looking at their current roster, I do not see any combination of players that I would take for Stamkos if I was the Lightnings GM. So stop with the fantasy trade, he is not going to Toronto.

    • grudenthediva - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:56 PM

      Someone’s been in the spiked Timbits, again. Seriously, the entitlement coming out of Toronto is just hilarious. He prefers to play in Toronto, eh? Says who? You and your mom? A couple of guys you give spare loonies and toonies to on the street corner? Fact: Stamkos has said all along he’s staying in Tampa. Show me where he’s said or even inferred he wants to play in Toronto and…yeah, I thought so.

      Yeah, he really wants to go to Toronto and have a giant blue and white bullseye put on his back as he tries to get the team to the 8th spot in the East, at best. If its the biggest hockey market in the world, it only makes sense for Crosby, Ovechkin, Chara, et. al. to play there as well. When will you idiots realize that this isn’t EA Sports and YOU CAN’T HAVE EVERYONE! “Derr we suck, eh, and we haven’t competed for a Cup in aboot twenty years, but everyone should play here because its just common sense, don’tcha know!”

      By November and December, you guys will be pining for another lottery pick, which hopefully for your sake hasn’t been dealt to Boston by then.

  3. Mike S. - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    The only way the Lightning won’t be able to re-sign Stamkos is if Stamkos agent demands a contract worth more than $10 mil per year (similar to teammate Vincent Lecavalieror) or tells the lightning that he wants to play elsewhere. Now, I don’t Stamkos demanding to play elsewhere, but I do see him and his agent asking for alot of money. Although the Lightning have the cap space (roughly $15.7 mil) they still have other RFA of their own to still sign, other than Stamkos. Taking a $10 mil hit on one player would be hard for the lightning to absorb, unless they can make a trade to lower their current team salary. Packaging or separate trades of Ryan Malone ($4.5mil) and Pavel Kubina ($3.8) would certainly give the lightning more leverage and cap space for Stamkos. The only problem with that is will the teams acquiring either Malone or Kubina be ready to absorb their salaries? There are not many teams out there who would be willing to sign Stamkos to an offer sheet and surrender 4 1st round draft picks (see RFA chart below), thats a hugh commitment.
    1,034,249 or less: No compensation
    $1,034,249 — $1,567,043: Third-round pick
    $1,567,043 — $3,134,055: Second-round pick
    $3,134,088 — $4,701,131: First and third-round pick
    $4,701,131 — $6,268,175: First, second and third-round pick
    $6,268,175 — $7,835,219: Two first-round picks, a second and third
    $7,835,219 and higher: Four first-round picks

    So, I see the only way Stamkos doesn’t remain a lightning is if Yzerman decides that the price tag is too high and makes calls to any to all interesting parties and do a sign and trade. The odds of Yzerman doing this is probably less than 15% and at least 85% that he would over spend to keep Stamkos. Although their are alot of teams that would love to have Stamkos on their team. I see only three teams ( in no particular order) who could afford Stamkos salary and have the players that would interest Tampa are:

    Los Angelos Kings
    New York Rangers
    Anaheim Ducks

    There may be some dark horses out there, but for the most part; these are the 3 teams that have both resources (money and personal) to get a deal done, if they are interested.

  4. muttbolts - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Well said mike and gruden the diva(nice).stammer said so clise to a deal,he’s not worried about it.rumors are(just rumors) 5yrs at 7.5-8mil a year. I would be worried either.

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