Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ willingness to take less money to stay here in the Bolts Nation has set the bar for the rest of the Lightning locker room.
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered the off-season with many unanswered questions staring them square in the face; questions that could have a tremendous impact on the future success of the team. The biggest question looming in the darkness was the impending Free Agent status of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
The good news is, Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman was able to remain steadfast in his offer and come to terms with the 26-year-old Lightning captain on an eight-year contract extension worth $68 million. Right on the heels of the Steven Stamkos signing, Yzerman was able to lock down defenseman Victor Hedman to a similar eight-year contract extension.
Despite getting two of the Lightning’s core players locked down, there were still many questions left unanswered. Players like Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov, and much more remain unsigned and could potentially find a new home before the start of the 2016-17 season.
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Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Lightning has been able to come to terms with Alex Killorn on a seven-year contract extension worth just over $31 million. After signing the surprising deal, Alex Killorn spoke to the media about his new contract, what it means to be here in Tampa Bay, and what help set things in motion.
“It’s surreal and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I could never have imagined signing this contract – never.” Killorn told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s something special in Tampa and guys want to come back.”
Killorn also told Smith that Steven Stamkos signing his contract sent the message to the guys in the locker room to take less Average Annual Value in order to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This proves a couple of things. Despite his young age, the players in the locker room put a lot of stock in the opinions and actions of Steven Stamkos.
The second, and probably most important, thing this proves is the team as a whole is willing to do whatever it takes in order to win. As the old saying goes, there is no “I” in team. The Tampa Bay Lightning roster has quickly become less of a team and more of a family. As time goes on, it will become abundantly clear these guys not only want to win the Stanley Cup, but they want to do it together.
The have been some here in the Bolts Nation who have had their issues with Steven Stamkos over the course of his career here in Tampa Bay. Despite that, the captain has really come into his own as a leader over the course of the last few seasons and has now set the bar that much higher for the rest of the team to strive for.