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Entries with the tag: steven stamkos

Something For Steven Stamkos To Consider

from Michael Traikos at the Toronto Sun,

According to sports tax guru Robert Raiola, even if Stamkos is paid $10 million per year he would actually take home less annually by playing in Toronto ($4.3 million after taxes and agent fees) than he would in Tampa Bay for only $8.5 million ($4.6 million).

“In order for Stamkos to go to Canada, they would have to pay him a lot more money than what he would have gotten to stay in Tampa Bay,” said Raiola, a senior manager at O’Connor Davies LLP, who has professional sports clients throughout the country. “Do I think it factors into free agency? Absolutely. I think in any sport where you have a cap, the teams that don’t have a state tax have a huge advantage.”

It does not get any easier if Stamkos were to sign in Montreal, where the combined statutory marginal income tax rate is 53.31%, or Winnipeg (50.4%), Calgary or Edmonton (48%) or Vancouver (47.7%). In fact, Ontario and Quebec have a higher tax rate than any state in the U.S., while Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. also rank among the top 10 of states/provinces with an NHL team.

It is just one of the many reasons Canadian teams not only have a harder time attracting top-end free agents, but also signing them at market value.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Surgery A Success For Steven Stamkos

TAMPA BAY – Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos underwent successful surgery this afternoon to treat a type of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (called Effort Thrombosis) which was located near his right collarbone, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The two-hour procedure was performed at Tampa General Hospital by Dr. Karl Illig, Director of Vascular Surgery at the University of South Florida. Stamkos is expected to fully recover and he should be able to return to the ice in 1-3 months.

“Everything went as expected for Steven today,” said Dr. Illig after the procedure. “We plan to re-evaluate him in about two weeks and we should know more about his prognosis at that time.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Video- Questions After The Steven Stamkos Blood Clot Diognosis

from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,

... now one has to wonder how far this team, which made the Stanley Cup Final last season, can go without the team’s top goal scorer and captain after already losing top defenseman Anton Stralman to a fractured leg last week.

And with Stamkos scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, the real possibility that Stamkos has played his final game with the Lightning became a reality. Any contract talks have not proven to gain any traction to this point and he will be free to sign with any team on July 1 should the two sides not come together on an extension before then.

Until then, Tampa Bay will learn exactly what life could look like with Stamkos in the lineup as they look to clinch a playoff spot on a four-game road trip to end the season, which starts Monday at the New York Islanders. Tampa Bay would have to advance at least past the first round for Stamkos to have any chance to suit up in a Lightning uniform again this season.

“Obviously this situation is extremely disappointing because I wanted to help my team clinch a playoff spot and prepare for the start of the postseason,’’ Stamkos said in a statement released by the team. “During my recover I will do all I can to help my teammates and I hope to rejoin them soon in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.’’

more

via Sportsnet,

The Hockey Central panel breaks down how Steven Stamkos’ absence will affects the Tampa Bay Lightning, but first stressed how seriously scary a diagnosis of a blood clot in the arm is for anyone, let alone an athlete.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Steven Stamkos Out 1-3 Months After Having A Blood Clot Removed

 

added 10:20pm,

 

 

added 10:22pm, Tampa release is below....

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Keep Steven Stamkos At Center

from Marin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

Lightning coach Jon Cooper fiddles while Steven Stamkos burns.

Wouldn’t it be easier if Cooper just drove Stamkos to the airport right now?

I Iforget. Is Air Canada on the blue- or red-side drop-off?...

So naturally Cooper had to tweak.

If it ain’t broke, fix it....

But why mess with No. 91 right now, when Stamkos is playing well? Why does Stamkos move to the wing? Why not Filppula? Why is Stamkos always the one who has to budge?

You’d be wrong if you think people around hockey don’t notice this.

Stamkos and Cooper say the right things in public. No matter.

There’s a problem here.

It’s time to check those egos. Especially you, Coop.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

How Good Is Steven Stamkos?

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Lost in all the conversation and conjecture of where Steven Stamkos may or may not be playing next season is this: Is Stamkos having a poor season with the Tampa Bay Lightning or is this now where he finds himself as an NHL player?

The one thing Stamkos has always done is score. Most of the time when healthy, he has been alongside Alexander Ovechkin as the best or second-best goal scorer in hockey. And here is Ovechkin, once again, leading the NHL in goals.

And there is Stamkos, 13th in goal scoring, alongside Mike Hoffman and Tyler Toffoli and his teammate, Nikita Kucherov.

Thirteenth in goal scoring and 39th in points, behind five defencemen and a list of players who would not normally be considered anywhere close to his equal.

Is this because Stamkos is playing the wing instead of centre? Is this because Jon Cooper has altered his role somewhat? Or is this just an off year at the worst of times for the pending free agent?

continued plus additional hockey notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Steve Yzerman Statement On Steven Stamkos

TAMPA BAY - Tampa Bay Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman issued the following statement today regarding Steven Stamkos:

“As February 29th approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL’s trade deadline. I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

How About Steven Stamkos To Buffalo?

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Tim Murray needs Steven Stamkos. He thought he needed Mike Babcock too but that ended up with the Detroit coach simply leveraging Buffalo on his way to Toronto. The Babcock affair comes to mind with all the chatter on Canadian sports giant TSN in recent days after the Dion Phaneuf trade opened a lot of cap space for the Leafs.

Suddenly, the thinking is that Stamkos may actually find it more palatable to sign in Buffalo come free agency if he doesn’t stay in Tampa Bay, than to head home to Toronto.

Something tells me this is going to end up the same way. If Stamkos doesn’t work out an extension with the Lightning, it seems hard to imagine any team trading for him as a rental and then losing him anyway come July 1. If not Tampa, it has to be Toronto.

The Sabres certainly have more to offer Stamkos. They’re far closer to winning than the Leafs are and already have core pieces in place. How would Stamkos look alongside Jack Eichel or Sam Reinhart, for instance? You want more money than the $10.5 million per year that Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are making? No problem. Terry Pegula can easily come through with $11-12 million a year, even with the need to pay Rasmus Ristolainen now and Eichel and Reinhart in a couple of years.

continue plus more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Waiting for the market to set prices

From the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch:

Perhaps, it’s the calm before the storm.

The NHL trade deadline is set for Feb. 29 at 3 p.m. EST and while it will be tough to see a deal bigger than former Toronto Maple Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf being moved to the Senators in a blockbuster Tuesday, there’s still a sense among league executives it’ll be busy enough between now and the cutoff date.

The issue right now is the market is flooded with forwards and that needs to sort itself out because nobody is sure just who will move and who won’t. Naturally, the biggest question mark is Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, but the betting money is he won’t be going anywhere.

After his name, people are eyeing the likes of Carolina’s Eric Staal, Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd, Boston’s Loui Eriksson, Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker, Columbus’ Scott Hartnell, Kyle Okposo of the Islanders and Tampa holdout Jonathan Drouin.

“Right now, there’s a lot of forwards out there,” said a league executive.

Sooner or later, someone has to move to set the market.

Continued...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ladd, dion+phaneuf, eric+staal, jonathan+drouin, kyle+okposo, loui+eriksson, mikkel+boedker, ottawa+senators, scott+hartnell, steven+stamkos

Brooks: Tavares might ‘bolt’ from Islanders’ identity crisis

From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:

So, no, I don’t believe that there is the slightest correlation between [Steven] Stamkos’ looming availability this summer and Toronto’s excise of Dion Phaneuf’s $7 million cap hit that runs through 2020-21 via last week’s stunning trade with Ottawa.

The deal does indeed create oodles of projected space for the Leafs down the line, albeit with a skeleton roster, following the 2017-18 season. And who might become available as a 27-year-old free agent on July 1, 2018?

Why, none other than John Tavares.

It is more than two years down the line, and the steps that might take the Mississauga native — for whom Greater Toronto has lusted since ever before this other No. 91’s junior career commenced in Oshawa a decade ago — from here to there cannot be plotted at this early date.

But the Islanders have work to do here with not only Tavares, working on the fourth year of a club-friendly six-year deal worth $5.5 million per season, but with their entire team in making the transition from Long Island to Brooklyn.

Maybe it will change upon this summer’s transfer of ownership, but the franchise thus far has attempted to straddle the two locales, in essence refusing to acknowledge the reality of where the team plays and to whom it belongs.

Brooks continues...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf, john+tavares, new+york+islanders, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs

Could Steven Stamkos Be Moved By The Trade Deadline?

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet with his views on the Stamkos situation.

The more this goes along, the more it looks and sounds like Steven Stamkos is heading towards a breakup with the Tampa Bay Lighting.

It might even come by the end of the month.

No one is saying that, not exactly. But there’s something about the way the “no comments” are flowing with a little more than two weeks left before the Feb. 29 trade deadline that makes you wonder if the situation is coming to a head.

When veteran agent Don Meehan of Newport Sports appeared on Prime Time Sports earlier this week it was notable when he responded to a question about Stamkos and the deadline by saying: “Well, I think it’s a sensitive issue.”

Then Stamkos met reporters on Thursday and declined to rule out the possibility of waiving his no-movement clause to help the Lightning facilitate a deal.

“I haven’t even thought about that,” said Stamkos, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. “I think the answer is, ‘we’ll cross that bridge at the time, and I don’t think it’s that time now.’ So I continue to come to the rink everyday as the leader that I am and the teammate that everyone in this room knows that I am, and give my best effort.”

He added: “The trade deadline is coming up in a couple weeks, I’m sure everyone will have some answers in a couple weeks when that comes.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Video/Audio- Don Meehan, Agent For Steven Stamkos On His Contract Talks

via Sportsnet,

Player agent Don Meehan joins Primetime Sports and talks about Steven Stamkos.

No hints from Meehan, doing what an agent has to do.

 

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

An Up And Down Season For Steven Stamkos

from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,

The future of Steven Stamkos hangs in the balance.

Stamkos’ present appears to be a bit cloudy, as well.

Through 53 games, one of the top goal scorers in the game is not producing at his usual level. With 21 goals, Stamkos is tied with teammate Nikita Kucherov for 13th in the league, behind the likes of Tyler Toffoli, Brad Marchand, Mike Hoffman and Matt Duchene while sitting 12 goals behind league leader Patrick Kane.

At a pace of 0.40 goals per game, Stamkos is on pace to finish with 33 goals, which would be his lowest full-season total since his rookie year. His goals per game would also be his lowest since 2008-09, when he finished with 23 goals, a rate of 0.29 per game.

While Stamkos can be a streaky scorer, prolonged slumps have not really been a problem since he came into the league. But this season, he has endured a 10-game drought — his longest stretch without a goal since his rookie season — and is in the middle of a stretch with one goal in his past 10 games.

Since a two-goal game at Colorado on Jan. 12, Stamkos has one goal and six assists while registering 20 shots on goal.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

If Steven Stamkos Is Traded

from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,

It remains to be seen where Stamkos will end up and whether the Lightning will trade their captain if they think a new contract will not be reached in time.

Stamkos has some say in the matter. With a full no-move clause in his contract, he cannot be traded or waived without granting his permission.

But if the Lightning did indeed consider trading Stamkos — rather than lose him as a free agent this summer and get nothing in return — what might Yzerman want? A right-handed defenseman? NHL players? Prospects? Draft picks?

And what teams might want in on the action? The criteria is limiting — with salary cap space being a big consideration.

There are four teams that have the resources to possibly acquire the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner in hopes of signing him to a long-term extension. And there are four teams with the resources to possibly acquire Stamkos — and the balance of his $7.5 million salary cap hit — as a “rental” player in a bid to win the Stanley Cup this season.

LOOKING TO BUY?

- St. Louis

The Blues have been a playoff disappointment in recent seasons, failing to advance beyond the first round despite being a strong team on paper. And St. Louis has shown they are not afraid to pull off a big move at the deadline, just as it did in acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller two years ago. But if the Blues were to acquire Stamkos, they likely would want assurances he would remain with the team because it will cost St. Louis roster players to bring him in to the fold.

Estimated available cap space: $3.4 million*

read on for more teams...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Videos- Spotlight On Steven Stamkos

via Sportsnet,

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos joins Elliotte Friedman to talk about the turnaround this season and update the contract negotiations with the Lightning.

 

 

Below, the Sportsnet crew discusses the play of Stamkos and what's next in the contract talks...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Tax Could Be In Play With Steven Stamkos Contract

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

if accurate, the $8.5 million annual average ($1 million more than his current salary) would put Stamkos eighth in the league, shy of the $10 million that Kings star Anze Kopitar signed for this month, and $2 million less than the supposed benchmark of the $10.5 million each for Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Was it a lowball offer from the Lightning? Not so fast. The Tampa Bay Times dug deeper into the numbers, with the help of nationally renowned sports tax guru Robert Raiola, revealing potential x-factors: no state income taxes in Florida and the Lightning's ability to guarantee an eighth year on the contract. Raiola calculated that if Stamkos takes $8.5 million with the Lightning, it would net almost the same annually as $10 million in New York, presuming he'd be a New York City resident (see chart). He'd net roughly $500,000 less annually than $10 million deals in St. Louis or Detroit, due to city and state taxes, but take in more money over the length of his contract.

In Toronto, Stamkos' hometown, there's a proposed 53.53 percent federal/provincial tax if he's a Canadian resident. So even if the Maple Leafs offer $10 million annually, Stamkos would net $7 million less total over the length of the deal compared one at $8.5 million annually in Tampa Bay, partly thanks to an eighth year. Stamkos would even make just $1.4 million less total than Kopitar over his eight-year deal with the Kings, assuming Kopitar is a California resident.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Audio/Video- Glenn Healy On The Reported Tampa Bay Lightning Contract Offer To Steven Stamkos

via Sportsnet,

NHL analyst Glenn Healy says if indeed the Lightning have offered Steve Stamkos somewhere in the 8-year, $68 million range, that has been alleged, it’s unacceptable and embarrassing.

 

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

Options For Steven Stamkos

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

I’m not seeing a deal happening before the trade deadline. I’m also not seeing Stamkos agreeing to a trade that would make him some Western Conference rental player the rest of the season.

That leaves the other scenarios.

1) Stamkos gets traded after the season, before free agency.

No way.

2) Stamkos and the Lightning come to terms after the season, before free agency.

Slim chance.

3) Stamkos traipses into free agency. The Lightning get nothing.

Looking stronger every week.

Meanwhile, in a big game against division-leading Florida on Sunday night, Stamkos had only 14 minutes, 55 seconds of ice time — eighth among Lightning forwards. J.T. Brown had 2 more minutes of even-strength playing time than Stamkos.

Not exactly star treatment.

Is this how major players get treated by franchises bent on keeping them?

Not on my score sheet.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

No Reason To Compare The Possible Contracts Of Anze Kopitar And Steven Stamkos

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

It’s also why the new Kopitar contract, expected to be announced Friday, may have little impact on the negotiations involving the other key centre approaching unrestricted free agency this summer – Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, who is not close to signing an extension with the Lightning.

There are some who link the two negotiations on the grounds that players of their calibre are usually locked up years before they hit the market. But upon closer examination, it really isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.

Stamkos, at 25, is three years younger than Kopitar, but his team hasn’t had nearly the same success as the Kings or the Blackhawks, captained by another great centre, the much-admired Jonathan Toews.

Toews and Kopitar are annually in the running for the Selke Trophy which, while nominally awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward, has really morphed into a way of acknowledging the game’s best two-way player.

And while Toews’s leadership skills are considered unparalleled in today’s NHL, Kopitar is a touch better offensively. He has led the Kings in scoring for eight consecutive years, and Darryl Sutter – a very hard coach to please – has long called him the best centre he’s ever had.

Stamkos has a different skill set. He is a far more gifted goal-scorer than Toews and Kopitar. In the current NHL, only Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and perhaps Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks are in his company.

But as a rule, general managers tend to loosen the purse strings more for players who’ve led them to championships.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anze+kopitar, steven+stamkos

Steven Stamkos Speaks

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

"Like I've always said, I envision myself winning a championship here and want to do that," Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times Saturday. "Obviously we got close last year, and I'm the captain of this team and I want to be that leader."

There have been reports indicating Stamkos likely won't remain in Tampa Bay, including from well-respected TSN reporter Bob McKenzie Wednesday, who wrote that is his "feeling."

There's a sense among some in the hockey world that Stamkos has already decided he's as good as gone.

"Absolutely not," Stamkos said. "Not even close. That's why people say, 'I've got a feeling. I think, speculate, there's so much information out there that's probably false. Like the ones about my parents moving to Tampa (which Stamkos said is not true). That just comes with the territory."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Steven Stamkos In Full Control

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

It has been repeated many a time over the past few weeks that Steven Stamkos, as he contemplates his future, holds all the cards due to the no-movement clause in his expiring contract.

Should he remain unsigned closer to the Feb. 29 trade deadline, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be at his mercy as to whether he’d be amenable to provide a list of teams to which he'd be willing to go.

And that’s if Tampa Bay would ever be willing to move him.

But the point is: Stamkos is in full control.

Don’t blame the Lightning; the vast majority of big-name players in this league are armed with no-movement clauses once they become eligible in their unrestricted free agent years.

It’s a big-time must for star players, and it’s become an absolute plague tying the hands of so many front offices around the NHL.

continued

My opinion, if a GM agrees to a no-movement/trade clause, he must live with it.  Don't like them?  Then don't agree to them.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Afternoon Line- Bob McKenzie On Steven Stamkos

Stamageddon breezed in and out of Toronto this week. We all managed to survive it.

So, now what?

In all likelihood, not much.

As in, literally not much at all.

If there is one take-away for me from a week or so ofStammerama in the self-proclaimed Centre of the Hockey Universe, it is as follows:

Steven Stamkos won't be playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning next season.

I can't say that ‎unequivocally, with 100 per cent, dead-set certainty, because, you know, never say never, there's always a chance, blah blah blah...

-Bob McKenzie of TSN where you can continue reading more on Stamkos.

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

Yes, Stamkos Is Playing In Toronto Tonight

 

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...

watch here...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Want Some Steven Stamkos To Toronto Talk?

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?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

What Is Going On With Steven Stamkos?

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.

more

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

Garrioch: Stamkos’ status has all eyes watching

From the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch:

All that matters in the next 70 days on the NHL trade market is what takes places between Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

When the Lightning captain was drafted No. 1 overall by the Bolts in the 2008 NHL entry draft, the organization posted billboards across town with the slogan “Seen Stamkos” plastered on it. The issue this season is nobody has seen the 25-year-old Stamkos sign a contract extension, and the clock is ticking.

Set to become a UFA on July 1, Stamkos will control what kind of trade deadline day the networks in Canada are going to have on Feb. 29, because if he hasn’t signed a contract with the Bolts by then, GM Steve Yzerman will have to decide what his next move is going to be.

If Stamkos isn’t signed, the speculation will be on high.

To make matters more interesting, Stamkos has a ‘no move’ clause, so he controls his own destiny if he decides to sign there.

Continued with more trade rumors...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Steven Stamkos Is The Story In Tampa Bay

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.

Hogwash.

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.

continued

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

Steven Stamkos And Twitter

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.

more

I like Bob McKenzie's remark too...

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

Video- Steven Stamkos To Toronto Talk

via Sportsnet,

The Hockey Central at Noon panel debate how much Tampa Bay and Toronto can offer free agent Steven Stamkos.

More like Nick Kypreos.

 

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Steven Stamkos On Playing On The Wing Again

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.

read on

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  Tags: jon+cooper, steven+stamkos

Evening Line- Bob McKenzie On The Steven Stamkos Contract Talks

Since no one is commenting on any of this, we’re left to try to figure things out on our own, which is a dangerous endeavour. No hard information + much free time = imagination running wild.

With that disclaimer prominently stated, here’s just one man’s sense of it: In a perfect or theoretical world, I believe Tampa wants to sign Stamkos and Stamkos wants to stay with the Lightning.

But I can’t help but feel as though there are unspoken reservations from each side. I think the Lightning are still trying to get their head around how much to pay any one individual on a team, even if he’s a marquee talent such as Stamkos. I think Stamkos is waiting to see how the season plays out, both for him and the Lightning, before he makes any long-term commitment. It has got a weird “we do mostly, sort of, love each other but let’s be really careful about the public displays of affection” vibe to it. So much so that I don’t believe either side – Stamkos or the Bolts – have put any specific numbers on the table or there’s been any hard horse trading like there has been on Kopitar with the Kings.

I’ve come across all sorts of people in the game who are convinced Stamkos is as good as gone. I can find others who say we shouldn’t read too much into the seeming snail’s pace of negotiation and odds are in favour of Stamkos eventually re-upping in Tampa.

-Bob McKenzie of TSN where you can read much more on Stamkos (scroll thru the Kopitar talk)...

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Saturday Headlines discuss the tug-of-war-room

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox discussed the topics at hand at the GM's meetings in the second week of November (especially given the tug of war between coach's challenges and War Room decisions), Steven Stamkos' usage as a center, the courtship of Nikita Zaitsev by teams interested in the Russian prospect, the low attendance in Brooklyn thus far and news of Auston Matthews' back injury:

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  Tags: auston+matthews, new+york+islanders, steven+stamkos

Morning Line- Pierre McGuire On Steven Stamkos

“I think the biggest thing that is going to be the question mark around that roster and how they’re going to deal with it ... it’s the Steven Stamkos situation, he’s the captain of the team, best player on the team. He started there when things weren’t very good. He’s been there when things have been pretty darn good.

“But if his contract situation becomes a problem, that could become a huge problem for the team. I’m not sure they want to go down that road. If they can’t get something done by January 1st, I think this could be problematic for their group.”

-Pierre McGuire on the Steven Stamkos contract situation.  More on Stamkos including s comparison to Jonathan Toews by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.

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Video- Early Storylines

via Sportsnet,

NHL insider Chris Johnston discusses the most intriguing stories heading into the season, namely how the Steven Stamkos situation plays out in Tampa Bay, and what the new era in Edmonton brings.

Plus other topics...

 

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Afternoon Line- Steven Stamkos

"You can't control what people say. Sometimes it's tough when you hear it, things are so completely fabricated and not even close to the truth. But I think at the end of the day, you realize that obviously a lot of people don't know the situation because they're not part of it. They've got to make a story to get ratings for their show, or get reads on their blogs. You can't control it. So I've learned over time not to worry about it."

-Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning on all the rumors/talk surrounding his contract.  More from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

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‘McDavid mania,’ 3-on-3 OT and Stamkos’ contract status among stories to watch this upcoming season

According to the Canadian Press's Joshua Clipperton, there are five stories of particular note to follow during the upcoming NHL season:

2. McDavid Mania: Connor McDavid is the most hyped rookie to enter the NHL since Sidney Crosby back in 2005. The 18-year-old was taken first overall by the Edmonton Oilers at June's draft and is viewed as the league's next superstar. He joins a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final, but has a stable of young talent that includes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. How much of an impact will McDavid, the odds-on favourite to win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie, have with Edmonton in Year 1?

3. New overtime format, coach's challenges: Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom called his experience with 3-on-3 overtime in the AHL last season "a gong show," but it will be interesting to see how NHL teams adapt to the new format. Will coaches deploy two forwards and a defenceman, or three forwards? Playing 3-on-3 should open up more scoring chances and result in fewer shootouts. Another change for this season is the coach's ability to challenge officials' calls on plays involving offside and goaltender interference that result in goals.

4. Will Stamkos get a contract extension? Steven Stamkos is entering the final season of a $37.5-million US, five-year contract he signed in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two sides are negotiating, but have yet to put pen to paper on a new deal. Stamkos is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016. The captain of the Lightning has said he wants to remain with the club, but he has also had issues with how he fits into head coach Jon Cooper's system. Stamkos and the Lightning have eight months to get a new deal done before he's scheduled to hit free agency. The longer it drags on, the more of a distraction his status will become.

Clipperton continues...


 

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  Tags: connor+mcdavid, edmonton+oilers, jacob+markstrom, overtime, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, vancouver+canucks

Picking Hedman for the Norris Trophy

From NHL.com's Brian Compton:

Injuries sidelined Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman for 23 games last season, ultimately ruining any chance he had to win the 2015 Norris Trophy.

But Hedman showed while leading the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final that he is unquestionably one of the best defensemen in the world. Hedman averaged 23:57 of ice time per game and had a plus-11 rating in 26 playoff games.

Perhaps Hedman hasn't garnered enough, but his talent and poise were on full display during the playoffs. He's big, he's intelligent and is remarkably skilled.

He also is the preseason choice for the Norris Trophy for the 2015-16 season.

"It was a coming-out party in the fact that we were now on the biggest stage in our sport," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said of Hedman. "He was the same player to us; just everyone else got a chance to see him. You get lost under the radar a little bit I guess playing in a non-traditional hockey market. I think people got to see what he can bring because of how we did as a team, got to the Final. Obviously he played phenomenal, was an absolute beast and horse for us out there, so the expectations have been raised for him. I know he's such a competitor, so he loves that. It was great to see."

Continued

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  Tags: steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, victor+hedman

Just Maybe, Steven Stamkos To Toronto

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

He might want to stay here, but he’d go.

He’d be able to handle the Toronto hothouse. There might be a lot of reasons for him not to go to Toronto, but fear wouldn’t be one of them.

The Leafs are hockey’s Cubs. Imagine being the guy to put Toronto over the top — and it’s your hometown team. King for life. I’m just saying.

Stamkos isn’t. He wouldn’t bite on Toronto talk Tuesday morning.

“You’re a professional,” Stamkos said. “Whatever the situation is, you’ve got to find a way to make it work. Again, I do love it here. Last year was such a fun ride you just want to get back on the train all over again. That’s the plan. That other stuff is just going to take care of itself.”

He said, “I think if you asked a lot of people in the league, this is a top destination. When I got here, it was just a nice place to live. Now it’s a nice place to live and a great place to play hockey.”

But not the only place.

It’s not crazy to keep that in mind.

more including comments from a few Toronto media types...

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  Tags: steven+stamkos

Jeff Vinik On The Contract Situation With Steven Stamkos

from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes,

"I love watching Steven Stamkos play, I'm not worried about him," Vinik said at Fan Fest today at Amalie Arena. "He's a great player, great leader, great person. I hope he's with this organization for a long time to come.

Vinik has said he's confident GM Steve Yzerman can figure out a deal with Stamkos. Stamkos could warrant a deal in the neighborhood of the eight-year, $84 million extensions Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews signed last summer. Vinik said Yzerman has the "green light" money-wise in a Stamkos deal to do what is "best for the long-term interest of this franchise."

"I have confidence in both guys," Vinik said. "Steve, as I said is one of the best managers in the league and Stamkos is one of hte best players in the league."

Vinik touched on a number of other topics today, "thankful" that 8,810 showed up for Fan Fest.

read on

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  Tags: jeff+vinik, steven+stamkos

Afternoon Line- Damien Cox On Steven Stamkos

So if you’re Stamkos, and you understand all that could be available to you as a Leaf, and you’re not afraid of it all like Kessel seemed to be, this begins to look like an increasingly appealing situation.

The pull of Toronto for Stamkos has to be considerable, and it’s only going to increase the longer he goes without signing a contract.

The Bolts could trade him, sure, but with everyone in the hockey world knowing Toronto will do anything to sign him next summer, it would be most difficult to get maximum value for him.

-Damien Cox of Sportsnet where you can read more on this topic which will probably gain more steam unless Tampa re-signs him.

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Steven Stamkos On Cotract Talks

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Stamkos, of course, is aware of the buzz that his uncertain contract status is creating.

"It’s total speculation because you never know when things can change," Stamkos told ESPN.com Tuesday.

"I think as you go through it you realize it is a process. You realize the business side of it pretty quick. I’ve been able to learn that over the seven years that I’ve been in the league. When there is news I’m sure you guys will be the first ones to know."

If he is disappointed that the contract extension that many initially believed would be a formality is still unresolved, he does not show it.

"You know what? I really didn’t know what to expect coming in," Stamkos said.

"Obviously I went through a contract talk five years ago but that’s a little different when you’re a restricted free agent and even that went past July 1st and you started getting the questions and the rumors and all that fun stuff. So I think having gone through that it’s kind of helped me a little bit not to panic when things don’t happen right away. So I wouldn’t say you’re totally comfortable in that situation but you know what to expect. For me I think it’s easier now to just kind of put that stuff aside and realize that you know you’ve still got a year left on your contract.

more

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Friedman on Stamkos

From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:

Tampa’s captain is an unrestricted free agent next July 1, barring a contract extension. Last week, while discussing the blood clot that will keep Andrei Vasilevskiy out of the lineup for up to three months, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson there was nothing to comment on at this time.

The obvious hurdle is the contract negotiation, with Stamkos expected to be in the $10.5M AAV range occupied by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. It’s difficult to tell where things stand right now because none of the principals are talking, including Yzerman, agent Don Meehan or Stamkos himself. But according to a couple of sources, there are other things at play.

The first is role.

Stamkos prefers to play centre, which creates a top-six logjam with Valtteri Filppula and triplet Tyler Johnson. It sounds like the Lightning would prefer Stamkos to play on the wing to ease that issue. From what I’ve been told, the discussions were professional, but both organization and player remain searching for common ground.

The second is how the Lightning see the future. By the end of the 2016-17 season, they must determine long-term plans for Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman, Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Stamkos.

Yzerman said in June signing Stamkos was his No. 1 priority this summer. Your third-grade science teacher will remind you that, technically, he’s got two more weeks. Even if it doesn’t happen by then, there’s no reason to believe Yzerman’s desires have changed.

Continued, trade rumor included...

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  Tags: alex+killorn, ondrej+palat, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson, valtteri+filppula, victor+hedman

Why Not Just Pay Steven Stamkos?

from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes at the Tampa Bay Times,

It's not that easy. First of all, the market is not nearly the same as it was last summer, not with the salary cap staying relatively flat this season (up from $69 to $71.4 million). And with the Canadian dollar dropping 23-percent since Valentine's Day in 2013 (now trading around 75 cents), there's a lot of uncertainty on what the cap will be like in coming years.

"It's really difficult right now to plan with this cap crunch," said NHL Network analyst Craig Button, a former Flames general manager.

That's the tough task ahead for Yzerman, who'd love to lock up Stamkos while also preserving the core of what he hopes will be a perennial Stanley Cup contending team. Even the Blackhawks, a model franchise with three Cups in five years, lost key players Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya this offseason, not being able to afford them all. And, like most strong teams, Yzerman's group will only get more expensive in coming years. Forwards Alex Killorn ($2.5 million cap hit this season) and Nikita Kucherov ($711,000) will be restricted free agents next summer. Braydon Coburn's $4.5 million hit could come off the books then, as will Mattias Ohlund, who continues to be on long-term injured reserve. But if Stamkos' cap hit, let's say, increases $3 million per year (to the Toews and Kane $10.5 million annual average), there's not a lot of wiggle room, especially with Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman among those needing new deals (and likely big raises) in two years.

"For the Lightning, $1 million is very significant," Button said.

more

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Sign Steven Stamkos

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

Uncertainty about Stamkos’ long-term status is a distraction to this team, this franchise and this player. Do the Lightning really need a distracted captain? Didn’t they try that with Marty St. Louis?

I’m not crazy concerned yet.

The Lightning need Stamkos. I think Stamkos needs the Lightning.

He’s a generational scorer. They’re a young contender.

Deal, please.

But there are a lot of moving parts. Maybe no villains — yet — but moving parts.

Clearly, Don Meehan, whose agency represents Stamkos, wants to break the bank, set the bar high. Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane high. Those Cup winners’ contract extensions are eight years apiece, $84 million, a $10.5 million cap hit for each of them.

Wonder how the Blackhawks feel about Kane’s off-ice troubles right about now.

Where were we?

Then there’s the Lightning side, where Yzerman has to factor in looming costs.

more

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What Happens If Steven Stamkos Doesn’t Sign This Summer?

from Justin Bourne of The Score,

The story so far is similar to how it went with Mike Babcock in Detroit. They were “in no rush” in the offseason to get a deal done, then he “didn’t want to discuss a contract in-season,” then he was “out the door buh-bye gone.”

We’ve had our first Stamkos story - he’s in no rush, not on any particular timeline, the agent needs to talk to Steven before he can talk to Steve (so … just do that then, right?), and here we are.

If Stamkos doesn’t sign this summer, and doesn’t look like he’s going to lock something down in-season - meaning he wants to go to UFA - Steve Yzerman is going to have a real pickle on his hands.

On the one hand, Stamkos is abso-effing-lutely irreplaceable, and Tampa Bay is abso-effing-lutely going to be a Stanley Cup contender next season, if not a favorite. The Atlantic doesn’t look all that impressive, meaning the Lightning could have a President’s Trophy type season next year, if health allows.

BUT, you cannot let Stamkos walk for nothing in pursuit of that elusive Stanley Cup. 

more

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Top Priority In Tampa, Signing Steven Stamkos

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

"We said in September that we'd sit down at the end of the year and get that done, and that's my intention," Yzerman said. "We've got a good team, he's our captain, and it's our intention to get him signed to a long-term deal."

Stamkos said he isn't too worried about it, believing that the contract talks will "take care of itself." He loves the future of this young team, saying this playoff run was the most fun he's ever had playing hockey.

"I've said it all along, I want to win a championship with this group," Stamkos said. "It's been a great ride this year. I know we'll have some talks, whether it's in the next day or weeks, I don't know. But we'll definitely be getting something worked out hopefully shortly."

Stamkos knows it can be a "distraction" of he goes into next season without having a long-term deal, as it'll become a big story, especially with the media in Canada with regards to the star center returning to his hometown Maple Leafs.

"We have a lot of time in this summer," he said. "I'm not worried at all about that."

more

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Simmons talks Leafs GM and Hawks/Bolts’ cap management

Among the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday notes:

Word is that Mike Babcock is pushing for [Mark] Hunter to be named general manager of the Leafs. Brendan Shanahan would be wise to look elsewhere. Shanahan needs Hunter to find players. A general manager won’t be able to spend the kind of time scouting that the Leafs require to properly rebuild. Hunter may want the job but the practicality of it doesn’t make sense...

Those who say this is the last shot for the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t really paying attention. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — the best 1-2-3 in hockey — are signed through 2023. Corey Crawford is signed until 2020. Marian Hossa is signed through 2021. Niklas Hjarmalsson is signed until 2019. So if you lose a Patrick Sharp here, a Brad Richards there and sign Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad and Brent Seabrook to new deals, there’s no reason this kind of success can’t continue for several more years...

Two more things on Keith: 1) His cap hit is $5.5 million, making his contract one of the best in hockey. By comparison, the Dion Phaneuf contract looks ridiculous. 2) Should the Blackhawks win Saturday night, Keith may be the leading candidate to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, but he’s not a Norris Trophy finalist. For the record, he was on my ballot, ahead of both P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson, who are up for the award.

...

If Steve Yzerman can juggle the salary cap prudently, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be Stanley Cup contenders for years. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn are all 25 and under. And figuring they pick up some assets for the disappointing Jonathan Drouin, that should make them even stronger...

When Brian Lawton tried to acquire defenceman Tomas Kaberle when he was general manager in Tampa, the Leafs first asked for college kid Alex Killorn. That conversation didn’t last long.

Simmons continues, discussing the usual potpourri of sports topics...

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  Tags: alex+killorn, brad+richards, brandon+saad, brendan+shanahan, brent+seabrook, chicago+blackhawks, dion+phaneuf, duncan+keith, erik+karlsson, johnny+oduya, jonathan+toews, marian+hossa, mark+hunter, mike+babcock, nikita+kucherov, niklas+hjalmarsson, ondrej+palat, patrick+kane, pk+subban, pk+subban, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, victor+hedman

Afternoon Line- Steven Stamkos

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Re-Signing Dougie Hamilton And Steven Stamkos

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- Re-signing Dougie Hamilton will be one of Sweeney’s priorities. It won’t be easy. Through three seasons, 178 games of NHL play have given both sides a good idea of Hamilton’s future value. Hamilton, who will turn 22 on June 17, projects to become the Bruins’ version of Victor Hedman: a big, mobile, three-zone defenseman with shutdown ability to complement scoring touch. Defensemen like that make a lot of money. Hedman is currently on his second contract: $20 million over five years. That is where the conversation starts with Hamilton. The final price is likely to be higher. One agent pegged Hamilton’s asking price at north of $5 million annually. The Bruins would prefer Hamilton’s salary to be closer to Jonas Brodin’s annual average value of $4,166,667.

- The notion sounds so goofy that it should be promptly dismissed. Steven Stamkos is Tampa Bay’s captain and signature player. But there is chatter wondering if Stamkos’s eventual blockbuster contract — he will be a UFA on July 1, 2016 — would be steep enough to prompt the Lightning to deal their captain. This speaks to several things: Stamkos’s asking price, uncertainty about the salary cap in the future, and Tampa’s depth. Stamkos’s threshold is $10.5 million, the annual numbers that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will earn starting next season. Stamkos is just as important to his club as Toews and Kane are to theirs. He probably deserves more. But the two Chicago superstars signed their extensions before the weakening of the Canadian dollar. Tyler Johnson is already a top-two center at 24 years old. Vladislav Namestnikov, 22, could become a go-to pivot. They will get raises, as will Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin. Moving Stamkos is a wild thought. But some people are thinking it out loud.

more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dougie+hamilton, steven+stamkos

Sometimes an ‘ugly win’ is a beautiful thing

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens (during the start of a slate of back-to-back games) was...lacking in aesthetic value:

The Tampa Bay Lightning played a mediocre hockey game Wednesday night capped by a brilliant play at the buzzer, leaving the Montreal Canadiens stunned and in disbelief.

Tyler Johnson’s goal with 1.1 seconds to go in the third period was the dagger moment of a series that will end, if not Thursday evening in Game 4, then certainly sometime in the near future.

"Obviously we’re excited about the win, but we’re not very proud of the way we played," Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. "They were a desperate hockey team, had more chances than we did today, they knew their backs were against the wall, they played like it, and we didn’t respond that great."

But the Lightning found a way to win in the end, which is what good teams do in championship seasons, because they can’t all be things of beauty.

Continued, and as a Red Wings fan, I certainly empathize with Habs fans who have found out the hard way that the Lighting seem to have copyrighted the "ugly rope-a-dope win."

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson

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