Stamkos Stays Put

And now you see why I don't think most Leafs fans don't have brains. Well, all the Leafs writers here seem to be smart enough to figure out the inevitable was going to happen. They may have thought about it, and while a lot of teams probably did, it just wasn't going to happen.

Which leads us to today. Steven Stamkos is a Tampa Bay Lightning for another 5 years. He is making a little less than captain Vincent Lecavalier's $7.7 million salary at $7.5 per year, but I take this as a perfect contract. The term is enough that Stamkos will be around in his prime, and GM Steve Yzerman can build around him.

As I read the Toronto Star up at my cottage getaway (which is where I wrote this), I saw some quotes that made me chuckle, and in a way made me feel for those suffering Leafs fans. Stamkos said he new the rumours were getting out off hand when he saw that ridiculous photoshopped image of himself in a Leafs jersey (it was actually Phil Kessel's with the 81 turned into a 91). It was a believable picture, given that Stamkos had to double check he didn't meet Brain Burke and sign a deal.

To make things even better for Tampa fans, they have a GM that knows what he's doing. Yzerman was quiet throughout the whole process, and when the deal was signed, then he spoke. The quote that made it for me was Stevie saying, "We were going to match any deal anyway." Kind of like I said before.

So here's where we stand; Stamkos is back in a Bolts uniform, albeit a new blue and white Leafish-looking one (if Leafs fans squint they can pretend he is in Toronto), and Tampa is now in the running for a Cup for another 5 years at least. With the right pieces of the puzzle, Tampa can be a force to be reckoned with. A fresh GM, a smart coach and an owner that is willing to win will help. Having players buy into the franchises goals also helps. Yzerman gave Stamkos the 'take less to win' speech, which might have been a gamble, but Stamkos bought in. He could have taken the farm and got the league maximum, but $7.5 is a discount. Even though it is a huge number (tied for 7th in top player salary league-wide), Tampa fans can exhale. They really never should have inhaled.

Gone are the days of mediocrity in southern Florida. The supporting pillars are rock solid and won't be washed away for a long time.

Kyle Busch


Patrick Storto's picture

It's easy to say now, but it took the Lighting over a year to get Stamkos under contract, so it wasn't as simple as you're making it sound.

Stamkos may not be going anywhere, but it's telling that he signed a 5 year deal which will expire just as Stamkos is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. Doesn't sound like a situation where Stamkos is committed to staying in Tampa. Stamkos is a member of the Lightning because he has no choice right now. No team wanted to offer sheet him and no team was willing to give up what it would have taken to get him in a trade.

I love how the photoshopped image of Stamkos in a Leafs jersey was "rediculous". If Lightning fans were offended by that then maybe they need a sense of humour. Even Stamkos found it funny, but then again, he's from Toronto.

This story will be much different in 5 years when Stamkos walks as a UFA.

nowhere's picture
Kyle Andrew Busch wrote:

And now you see why I don't think most Leafs fans don't have brains.

Kind of harsh on the Leaf Fans - just let them be in their delusional little world.

Patrick Storto wrote:

This story will be much different in 5 years when Stamkos walks as a UFA.

I think it may be a bit early to speculate as to what Stamkos will do in 5 yrs. If he continues his success and wins a cup, he could decide to stay. Or...

Lost in all this is the fact that there is a no movement clause, which due to Stamkos' age doesn't kick in until the last season of the contract. He can actually be traded at any time during the first 4 yrs of the contract. In the event Stamkos isn't committed to staying in Tampa, Yzerman has plenty of time to raise the asking price.

Patrick Storto's picture

Didn't know about the NMC, if that's true then Yzerman isn't all that smart afterall. So if Stamkos doesn't want to re-sign in Tampa after his contract is up, how is Yzerman supposed to trade him to get something in return instead of letting him walk as a UFA for nothing. Seems like a real bonehead move.

George Prax's picture

I'm in full agreement with Kyle here. There was a whole lot of delusion in the air in Leafs-land these last few weeks. This happens every year. GM A does nothing of significance during the long summer months, Rumor Monger B creates a ridiculous rumor like Stamkos to Toronto, Fans C, D, and E spread rumor like wildfire because they have nothing else to talk about, and then they get defensive when it doesn't happen. Get real. Not everyone wants to play in Toronto, and to sit around and speculate that he does simply because it took a while to get a contract done is stupid. And in the process, you brushed off their fans as unimportant and frankly nonexistent because it was so obvious that Stamkos was CLEARLY holding out to go to Toronto. Please. Five years is a lot longer than any of you are considering, and it could be less that he wants to go to Toronto at the end of that period, and more both sides waiting to see what he'll be worth then, not to mention the cap situation, etc. Stamkos was never going anywhere, and it's crazy that you continue to think that this wasn't the case.

Patrick Storto's picture

I don't think Stamkos is necessarily going to Toronto after five years, but he set himself up nicely to make himself unrestricted and go wherever he wants. And like I said, if its true that his NMC kicks in during the final year of his contract, then that's just plain stupid.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Easy choice for Yzerman. Stamkos is a star and will be for years to come. This team is going to have to make some moves though. They lost a few guys that don't hurt too bad, but to compete in the East, they need to sure up some spots. A big thing for them is to get rid of Malone and go after another Dman. I don't expect them to repeat their sucess this season, a lot will depend on Vinny and Marty and they aren't getting any younger.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

Ok guys, now that I'm back I can have my input. The Leafs comment was supposed to have some humour in it, so c'man, lighten up guys! Also, the NMC might be the reason Stamkos signed it. You can look at it like the Bolts' telling him that he's their guy and they wouldn't trade him if things weren't going their way.