Steven Stamkos has been clear about how he feels about his situation right now. The veteran forward is soon entering his final season, an eight-year, $8.5 million AAV contract. Stamkos is a UFA next summer when it expires, but the organization has stood its ground. They don’t want to discuss a new contract with their captain until the end of the season. And Stamkos is disappointed.
“To be honest, I’ve been disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard,” Stamkos said last week. “It was something that I expressed at the end of last year that I wanted to get something done before training camp started. There haven’t been any conversations.”
Tampa Bay and its general manager Julien BriseBois claim they need more understanding of next year’s salary cap situation before they sign one of their most influential players in franchise history.
“I need to see how this season plays out,” BriseBois said per NHL.com. “I need to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit this year. I need to see who steps up and is able to handle a bigger role. I need to see how the team performs. After the season, I will have gathered that information and then I’ll be in a better position to have a clearer picture of what our puzzle looks like going forward, what roster needs we might have and then how to allocate our cap space in order to build the best roster possible for not only for Steven to remain with the Lightning, but for us to stay Stanley Cup contenders year in and year out for the remainder of his tenure with us and hopefully bring the cup back to Tampa.”
But not everyone agrees with Tampa’s decision. TNT analyst Paul Bissonnette calls out the Lightning on his podcast Spittin’ Chiclets and calls the organization’s treatment against Stamkos” a slap in the face.”
“The fact they haven’t reached out to him to start negotiations is such a slap in the face,” BizNasty said.
”Mind you, you might think like, ’Oh, Steven Stamkos, how old is he? Like 36, 37?’ No, he’s 33 years old. In two years, he moved from a 106-point season, and then last year was over a point a game with 84 points. In order to keep him a Tampa Bay Lightning, I would probably offer him a 5 to 6-year deal. And you could probably keep his AAV in the 5.5-6.5 number.”
Bissonnette thinks that would be an offer Stamkos would accept, and it would also be an excellent deal for Stamkos.
”I know it’s a little bit low, but I’m also taking into account that he’s been playing with these high-class players that are making 9-9.5 million, and I don’t think that they can afford to keep him if it ends up being above that 6.5-7 number. But I’m also giving him a six-year term, for a guy who’s about to turn 34 years old, which would bring him to 40 years old.”