Stamkos: The RFA

Will RFA Stamkos remain a Bolt?

At only 21 years old, Steven Stamkos has already won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the leagues leading goal scorer.  In the past 200 games, no one in the entire NHL has scored more goals than Stamkos and his contract is up now.  Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, has to make a move in the next three days before Stamkos can test the restricted free agency waters.  If any team was to offer him an offer sheet, they would have to reimburse the Lightning with three to four first round draft picks, depending on how large the contract is.

Why do teams want to sign Stamkos?

  • If a team were to send Stamkos an offer sheet and he accepted, the team would be out of a first round pick for the next four years.  With Stamkos on your team, there is a good chance the pick could be deep in the first round, thus not losing out on a top prospect.  Stamkos is the greatest scorer in the league right now and is well worth the four draft picks a team would have to give up to get him.  All 29 other GMs are licking their lips in hope that Stamkos won’t get resigned by July 1st.

What can the Lightning do?

  • The Lightning will have to sign Stamkos before July 1st.  If a team sends an offer sheet, they would have to match it.  This offer sheet might put the Lightning in a financial hole that they’re trapped in for up to ten years.  The Lightning are already struggling, having lost approximately twenty million dollars this past season.  If you are Steve Yzerman, you want to get Stamkos signed to an affordable, long-term deal before the bidding war goes on.

What teams could be in on Stamkos?

  • Could the Flyers moving Carter and Richards be a smaller move to try to sign Stamkos?
  • Toronto’s GM Brian Burke has been very vocal in the past about trying to acquire a number one center.  Though he isn’t confirming or denying that he’s going to go after Stamkos, he has to be a the top of the list.  Stamkos also grew up very close to Toronto and was a fan of the Leafs growing up.
  • Other mystery teams are definitely in on Stamkos too even though they haven’t said anything.  This may be a once-in a lifetime opportunity to sign an elite player.

Does Stamkos even want to leave Tampa Bay?

  • Why would he?  In the past three years, the town has fallen in love with him.  He was the cornerstone of the rebuild that just took place in Tampa.  He and teammate Martin St. Louis led the Lightning within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals this season.  The future is bright in Tampa with Stamkos, dimmer without him.  The sniper won’t be able to find a better set up man in the league than linemate Martin St. Louis if he decides to leave the team.

Whats most likely to happen?

  • At the end of the day, Stamkos will remain a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Yzerman and Stamkos’ agent are both trying to hold their spot and whichever side folds first will lose.  I think Yzerman will have to give in to secure his top priority.  A deal will most likely get done either June 30th or July 1st.   He will most likely get eight to nine years at $9M or more a season.

More to Come..

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