Kukla's Korner

So, Yeah… About That Stamkos Deal…

Stay calm.

Don’t panic.

Rest assured.

It will get done, in due time, this second contract for Steven Stamkos, that is…

It’s all part of the process, standard negotiating procedure, part of a give and take… And so on and so forth.

That’s what’s being fed to the masses locally from several outlets – and make no mistake, that’s the company line.

These days, it’s downright blasphemous for anyone in these parts to even graze the reborn Tampa Bay Lightning with the slightest hint of criticism, so it’s no surprise we haven’t seen anything resembling as much in the fish wraps or on local airwaves.

Not to worry.

Move along, people…

Well, what is it, then, that has led to a full two weeks of restricted free agency for Stamkos to go by without anything tangible to fluff the pillows of the Tampa fan base and keep them sleeping at night?

People will take the team’s word as gospel these days, naturally. Faith in the franchise is unwavering for the first time in forever – and for good reason after a remarkable 2010-11 season and an even more convincing Stanley Cup playoff run.

But is there some stuffing in those pillows after all? Or is the collective head of “Bolts Nation” resting on a cushion of hot air?

Think about it for a second: What is it out there that’s really making people feel okay about this situation?

Anything? Anything at all? Anyone?

Bueller?

Look, the bottom line remains that in all likelihood, Stamkos will stay the now-and-relatively forever superstar of the Lightning, as a contract will eventually get inked. After all, with the majority of the NHL’s decision makers afraid – or at least leery – to go the offer sheet route and trade scenarios for Stamkos nothing more than a little pixie dust added to the annoying offseason rumor mill (until they aren’t), there aren’t many other end results that have at least one foot firmly planted in reality.

But the longer this goes on…

It’s only natural to wonder:

What’s taking so long?

We’re told the player has no desire to play anywhere else.

We’ve assumed all along – and bought into the organization’s assertion – that whatever is necessary to keep the player in Tampa will be exercised.

We’ve tossed around numbers here and terms there and, despite the uncertainty of a new CBA around the corner and the Lightning, specifically, not exactly possessing an unlimited amount of cap space for next season and several big ticket, lengthy deals for other players already on the books well into the future, a fair and sensible deal for Stamkos, even in the $8 million per season range, fits. The comfort level, in particular in forthcoming seasons, might decrease a bit at that dollar amount but it’s not as though the Bolts are priced out of keeping their wunderkind sniper.

With that in mind, once again, what is it that the Lightning faithful are supposed to be so unrelentingly confident about right now (aside from a video game cover, that is) with regard to the Stamkos contract situation?

This could have been taken care of, theoretically, not just in these last two weeks, but any time during the final year of Stamkos’ entry level deal. That is to say, to get all technical and such, as far back as July 1, 2010.

It could have been resolved, oh, some time after the All-Star break, say, maybe around the unveiling of the new logo and uniform design, perhaps?

And, really, if there aren’t any major gaps still left to be bridged, wouldn’t it be logical for one to think that this vitally important deal for Stamkos and the Lightning would have been handled by now?

Strike me for being the lone wolf willing to think aloud in this sacrilegious manner but one – or this one, anyway – has to think it should have been.

Rest well, everyone.

Nothing to see here…

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Tampa Bay Lightning, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

Comments

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Doughty hasn’t signed yet either, same with Weber and Parise.  Who knows the real cause but none of these players will move teams I just think these guys know they’re in a great position and in no hurry to sign anything that isn’t fully satisfactory.

Posted by JBM on 07/15/11 at 01:07 AM ET

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Parise and Weber have (team requested) arbitration hearings coming up later in the summer.  That separates them from Stamkos and Doughty in that neither of these two guys are eligible for salary arbitration.  I don’t see Stamkos or Doughty on different teams next year, but it’s odd they haven’t inked yet.  LA might be waiting to see what Weber gets in arb, but I have no idea what’s holding up the Bolts with Stamkos…

Posted by Alyeska from Manhattan on 07/15/11 at 10:25 AM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

Yeah, what’s up with this situation?

Maybe Stamkos wants Ovechkin type money ‘cause he’s one of the top goals scorers and blah, blah blah, but Yzerman wants him to take 15-20% less for the good of the franchise and blah blah blah? That’s probably the dance here. But it does seem to be taking a bit longer than you would expect.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 07/15/11 at 02:55 PM ET

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OK JJ if you are willing to almost disturb these placid waters with this very vague and slightly too-cute hint of a disparaging word, what do you think is the holdup and what do you think will happen?

Stamkos clearly wants something that SY doesn’t want to give.  Could it be money?  Everybody knows the questions: How much will Stamkos (and his agent) be willing to mortgage the future strength of the whole team to add a few inches to the already huge pile of dollars in front of him? Has Stamkos come to believe he is entitled to Ovie and Richards-like money? Is he having a hard time accepting anything less than the top of the current heap? Why should he when they didn’t have to? And how much are they all willing to risk the very predictable fall-out from the masses if another Lacavier-like contract is signed that slowly strangles the team? Yet, can Steve Y really not sign him regardless of the price? Can the bottom-line be anything other than Stamkos wants more; a bunch more? Or is the whole thing just too complicated to get finished quickly? Thus the long dance on the horns of the dilemma. And meanwhile, there were a few fairly-priced and possibly valuable free agents that were not pursued while all these balls were being juggled…...

Posted by onetimer from northeast on 07/15/11 at 04:57 PM ET

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