Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has spoken up about the recent controversy involving all-star forward Steven Stamkos not having a new contract:
First off, notice that Yzerman says BEFORE the deadline. So what about after?
His possibility of being moved or being re-signed by someone else has already been brought up before, but with the trade deadline coming up hot this conversation is back in full swing.
Since we now know that Stamkos won’t be traded before the end of the season, what’s going to happen AFTER the season?
Coming to the end of his 5 yr./$37.5 million contract, Stamkos is waiting for the next chapter. Where that next chapter will take place is the question at hand.
Since this season has started there have been rumors of Stamkos packing his bags and heading to his hometown of Markham, which is right outside of Toronto.
After a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in December, Stamkos addressed those rumors head on, saying to the Tampa Bay Times that he wants to get a contract done with Tampa and can envision himself “winning a championship here and want to do that.”
Yet here we are.
I don’t blame the entire controversy of not having a contract on just one side alone; it’s both Yzerman’s and Stamkos’ fault that they’re at a standstill for a contract. The Lightning need to maneuver cap space in order to add more pieces to their team for a cheap price. Once that’s done then Stamkos will follow.
But that’s if the Lightning hope to re-sign him.
If they can’t, then Stamkos will need to be dished out, or he'll just walk, in order to keep the rest of the Lightning core together. They have players like Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Coburn and Alex Killorn that need to be re-signed this off-season. Ben Bishop and Tyler Johnson have contracts that end next year that need to be dealt with and, being two very valuable players, that's something to keep in mind.
So buy or sell Steven Stamkos?
I say sell to Toronto if that's what is wanted, as long as the Lightning get something worthy back.
Toronto has the chance to mean something again in the world of hockey, and the right trade can help do that. Rumor has it that Toronto dished out Dion Phaneuf to clear up space for Stamkos (oooo rumors) and that would be a great start in the process to acquire Tampa's captain if that turns out to be a factual theory.
I think that the Leafs should want to build around James Van Riemsdyk (only 26 years old) and, if needed for Stamkos, could dish out Joffrey Lupul or Tyler Bozak (32 and 29) combined with maybe a couple draft picks.
Keep in mind, however, that the Leafs are still kind of in rebuilding mode and need those draft picks. Along with that, the players they have right now might be the type of players that they'd want to keep around to help adjust new players coming in.
So either way picking what players to get rid of for Stamkos will be a hard decision to decide on, but those decisions are what it takes to make a team better.
Aside from trading, if Stamkos were to be signed in free agency, he will probably want enough money where the Leafs could end up letting go of other players like Michael Grabner or Nazem Kadri whose contracts are also ending and aren't as needed Van Riemsdyk, Lupul or Bozak.
Also seems like Stamkos REALLY likes Toronto: