Kukla's Korner Hockey
"The media attention, I completely understand (it), he's from Toronto. This is the hockey Mecca and people want to know. It's a story. He's probably one of the most talented players to become a UFA in his mid-20s — I mean that doesn't happen, especially in this era.
"So of course it's going to be a story."
-Jon Cooper, head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Steven Stamkos. More from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
added 7:59am, via Sportnet, below, watch Stamkos post-game...
addded 5:21pm, via TSN,
What are the chances that this time next year Steven Stamkos is wearing a Maple Leafs jersey? TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun gives his take and also sheds light on an interesting quirk under the new CBA as of March 1st that could affect Stamkos re-signing in Tampa Bay.
LeBrun says if Stamkos is still on the Tampa roster the day after the trade deadline, he cannot sign a max, eight year contract with any other team besides Tampa.
If he acftually goes UFA and waits until July 1st, he won't be able to sign an eight year contract anywhere, even with Tampa.
LeBrun explains that more too...
FYI- The Lightning play in Toronto tonight, morning skate was canceled.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Stamkos would be a marquee name for a franchise that isn’t attracting as many eyeballs on TV as it once did. So you have to believe, with Rogers ($5.2 billion invested in national NHL rights) and Bell (broadcasters of 50 per cent of Leaf regional games) making the decision, that will matter for something.
He’s also only 25, which means by his 30th birthday, players like Nylander and Marner will be approaching their prime years. A seven-year contract, the max any team other than Tampa could offer, would be more than half over.
Unlike their pursuit of Mike Babcock in which the Leafs simply blew everyone else out of the water with an unprecedented $50 million offer, Toronto is restricted to some degree by the salary cap. Still, would they be inclined to make Stamkos the highest paid player in the game, the first $14 million annual cap hit?
And even if they were so inclined, is he worth that money? Is anyone?
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
... it increasingly looks as though the Stamkos UFA sweepstakes will happen this summer.
If he truly doesn’t want to play for Cooper anymore, all he needs to do is wait. That will be a bitter pill for the Lightning – losing a 26-year-old franchise player they drafted first overall in 2008 for nothing – but it won’t catch them by surprise.
If you put any stock in the talk around the league, that’s now the most likely outcome. The only wild card is if Stamkos will allow Yzerman to recoup some sort of asset at the trade deadline by agreeing to be a rental player.
That would have to happen relatively quickly, as the deadline is Feb. 29 – only 78 days away.
It’s either that or broker a reconciliation between player and coach, finally ending a rift that’s been dragging what should be one of the NHL’s better teams down all year.
Either way, Yzerman is running out of time.
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
For the past several months, all Lightning fans have heard is that the potential impending free agency of Lightning star Steven Stamkos is not an issue.
The Lightning has said so. Stamkos has said so. No big deal, they say. Nothing to see here. Move along. All a media creation.
It is a story. A big story. And it will continue to be a big story until Stamkos is either re-signed, traded or leaves for free agency.
After all, only the future of the Lightning organization depends on it.
I have avoided the Stamkos 'twitter like' because, well, it is just foolish to think Stamkos would like a tweet to give hints on his next destination.
Instead, I feel Stamkos won't sign anything until the salary cap number is set for next season, time is on his side.
Heck, he may even test the UFA market which is his prerogative. I will also say he won't be traded at the trade deadline unless the Bolts are out of the playoff picture.
And, someone tell me why he would go to the Leafs as a UFA? Yes, it is his hometown but the Leafs have at least a few more years of rebuilding and by that time, Stamkos would be past his prime.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
And then came more social media madness on Wednesday, after his Twitter account showed he “liked’’ a story on TSN asking fans whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue the pending unrestricted free agent and Toronto native this summer, should Stamkos not re-sign with Tampa Bay.
Just like the summer of 2014, when Stamkos set the social media world ablaze when he hit “favorite’’ on a story in The Hockey News asking whether he would be the next LeBron James and return to play for his hometown team, Stamkos called it an “accident,” a slip of the thumb.
Such is the world Stamkos lives in, where his every move is examined for any miniscule hint about his future.
I like Bob McKenzie's remark too...
George Stroumboulopoulos sits down with Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson, Tampa Bay Lightning Chairman Jeff Vinik, and Executive Chairman of the Winnipeg Jets Mark Chipman about the stress that comes from being behind the scenes of a NHL team.
Part two is below...
The Hockey Central at Noon panel debate how much Tampa Bay and Toronto can offer free agent Steven Stamkos.
More like Nick Kypreos.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
“If you ask any player, I think they prefer to play their natural position,” Stamkos said Saturday. “For me, it’s just easier to create speed from my game when I’m in the middle. Again tonight, I didn’t do much offensively, but we found a way to win and make some plays defensively.”
He added: “I’m going to go out there and do what I’m asked to do. I’ve played there before, so it’s at a point now where you see the lineup on the board, you do anything you can to go out there and win.”
Head coach Jon Cooper clearly prefers Stamkos on the right side, even though Cooper admitted the Lightning are “lacking centres, period” in the absence of Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette due to injury. He said there were a host of reasons for the switch, adding “when guys aren’t scoring, you try to open up ice for them.”
“It’s team-first, always,” Cooper said. “I don’t know, you ask any player, ‘Would you rather get the minutes or the position?’ and…I think if you ask anyone, they don’t care about where they play, it’s as long as we’re winning.”
That may not necessarily be the case with a star like Stamkos. His position and philosophical difference with Cooper is believed to be a major sticking point in his ongoing contract negotiations. Stamkos, 25, can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed head coach Jon Cooper to a multi-year contract extension today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Cooper was named the eighth head coach in franchise history on March 25, 2013.
Cooper, a native of Prince George, British Columbia, has led the Lightning to a 112-70-23 record and a .602 winning percentage in 205 games. He has guided the Bolts to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his two full seasons since coming to Tampa Bay, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. On April 11, 2015, Cooper earned his 100th career victory, making him the fifth-fastest to do so among those who debuted in the league since 2000. He was also named a finalist for the 2014 Jack Adams Award, given annually to the NHL’s top head coach.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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