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.
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