The Tampa Bay Lightning have a lot of decisions to make about their roster – who to keep and who to let go. Players like Bergenheim, Gagne, and Purcell, among others, all have contracts expiring on July 1. These are players whose futures are uncertain. But, even though a deal hasn’t been reached yet, fans can be at peace with one thing: Steven Stamkos isn’t going anywhere.
Stamkos, 21, who has a league-best 96 goals in the last two seasons, has his entry-level contract coming to an end and experts say re-signing the young forward will cost up to $7-million a season. But, the chance is there for negotiations as Stamkos has shown no desire to leave the team. In fact, he has expressed no worries to the press about a deal being reached.
Stamkos told the St. Petersburg Times about his contract that “it’s going to take care of itself. It’s not something I’m losing sleep over.”
Furthermore, Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay’s new general manager, seems to have a strategy of establishing a roster and building the team hand-in-hand with his players. This is something Stamkos also realizes and it’s a strategy that works – allowing players to grow and improve together while creating team chemistry and comradery. Releasing Stamkos would cause the team to buckle and disallow them to carry their momentum from last season’s playoff run into next season. Stamkos also told the St. Pertersburg Times: “We’ve been able to grow with the core bunch of guys and you saw what happened this year. We’re so close. We’re only going to get better as a team and I’d love to be part of that.”
Stamkos, from Markham, Ontario, is a first overall draft pick and Maurice Richard trophy winner after only three seasons of play. It would be downright foolish not to re-sign him to a new, long-term deal and build him up as a franchise player and possible future captain.
GM Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Tribune: “It is our intention to resign him, but he is restricted and we have the ability to match any potential offer sheet that might be put forward and we are in position to do that. So, we are quite confident that Steven will be playing for the Lightning, and that’s our goal and we haven’t explored anything else and we don’t intend to look at it any other way.”
When both parties show nothing but desire in eachother, it’s a safe bet that Stammer, and all of his whole-hearted attempts at growing a playoff beard, are here to stay.
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