Captain Steven Stamkos sent a loud message as Day 1 of Lightning Training Camp got underway…
“To be honest, I’ve been disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard,” Stamkos told reporters on Wednesday. “It was something that I had expressed at the end of last year, that I wanted to get something done before training camp started. There haven’t been any conversations.”
Stamkos is entering the final year of his contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer was hoping his future was going to be ironed out this past off-season. The 33-year-old has desires to play his entire career with the Lightning.
— Kyle Burger (@kyle_burger) September 20, 2023
Even though Stamkos carries an $8.5 million cap hit this season, he will be earning $6.5 million in real dollars. If you recall, Stamkos signed his eight-year extension with the Lightning back on June 29, 2016. That was also the day of the P.K. Subban–Shea Weber trade, along with the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson trade.
Now it is all well and good the Lightning captain wants to remain with the team. But general manager Julien BriseBois is taking a similar approach as the Toronto Maple Leafs are with William Nylander. He wants to wait and see how the season plays out before making any decision on what Stamkos’s next contract will look like.
“Steven and I share the common goal of bringing a cup back to Tampa Bay,” BriseBois told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s our objective. In order for us to do that in future years, we’re gonna need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible.”
Again it comes to what the salary cap looks like. If the salary cap goes up by $4-$6 million, as prognostications say it will, the Lightning will be fine; if it does not, they have some tough choices to make.
I asked Lightning GM Julien BriseBois about Steven Stamkos’s disappointment about no contract talks. pic.twitter.com/GXcojNFgCPMORE PODCASTS From FPC
- Ep 162: Joe Flacco, Dak Prescott and The MVP, Week 13 Discussionby Full Press Coverage on December 3, 2023 at 3:58 pm
— Kevin ODonnell Fox13? (@ODonnellFox13) September 20, 2023
Per usual, the Lightning are right up against the salary cap. Again BriseBois has been extending players the summer before they are up. Not to mention using his draft capital to keep the Lightning relevant and keep the window open for them to win. Eventually, that does catch up with a team.
Next year, in the 2024-25 season, Tampa Bay has already $75 million in salary committed to 15 players. That leaves Lightning GM Julien BriseBois roughly $13 million to play with next season. Including Stamkos, the team has six other UFAs and one RFA.
Around Full Press Hockey
Full Press Hockey Weekly: Ep 67: Karlsson Trade, Matt Dumba Signs, NHL News and Notes
In 18 games last season with the Lightning, Stamkos recorded 84 points (34 goals and 50 assists). The year before that, 21-22, Stamkos had 106 points. If he points up another campaign like this, Stamkos could earn over $10 million a season.
But Steven Stamkos leaving is a legitimate possibility as it was in 2016. Again this is a business. Money drives everything.
As it has been written before, the Lightning Modern Day Dynasty could be coming to an end. Stamkos’s name has been mentioned before in trade talks despite him having a no-movement clause.
But the captain of the Lightning wants to get the deal done.
“Like I stated at the end of last year, too. I would love to extend and play here and finish up my career here but that’s out of my hands, “Stamkos told reporters Wednesday. “I can’t write a contract for myself.
For now, one of the biggest storylines this season is this the final season we see Steven Stamkos in a Lightning uniform.