Elliotte Friedman Links Steven Stamkos Back to Hometown Maple Leafs

Tyler Ball
September 22, 2023  (12:08)

Steven Stamkos is heading into the final year of his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. No extension talks have been had so far according to reports. This has left the door open for a familiar team to come back into the fold.

Stamkos Speaks On Contract Talks With Tampa Bay

With Steven Stamkos entering the final year of his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning speculation is starting to build. Stamkos himself decided to comment on where things are at with the negotiations.
"I've been disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard... There haven't been any conversations so."

Steven Stamkos on the lack of contract negotiations during his offseason.

With these quotes in mind, rumors are starting to swirl that Stamkos could be available on the free agent market this upcoming summer. Elliotte Friedman provided a list of a few possible destinations if things reach that point.

Friedman Links Stamkos Back To His Hometown Maple Leafs

In a recent episode of 32 Thoughts Podcast Elliotte Friedman talked about Steven Stamkos and his impending free agency.
Friedman on 32TP: «I know people who are around Stamkos, and I am talking other players, few of them told me that there is this underlying belief around them that Tampa wouldn't be crushed if he left»

After discussing the Tampa Bay side of things Friedman shifted to a couple of possible destinations for Stamkos if things end with the Lightning. The first being a couple of familiar suitors from the last time Stamkos was an impending free agent.
Friedman mentioned the last time he was UFA it came down to Toronto and Buffalo before he re-signed in Tampa.

The other destination mentioned by Friedman is sure to make both Maple Leafs and Lightning fans disappointed.
Marek on Stamkos (32TP): «If you allow a player like that to go to market, if you are the Florida Panthers who after this season have a lot of salary come off the books, you can offer the same financial incentives that Tampa can, last time I checked they play in the same state»

Stamkos is likely to demand a big contract once he hits the open market. He is still an electrifying player who put up 84 points last year and 34 goals. This could get tricky for teams close to the salary cap. Luckily for teams like Toronto and Tampa Bay who are close to that cap, they might be getting some relief by time Stamkos becomes available.
Mike Johnson said he's hearing cap could go up 7 million next year.

If the Salary Cap does indeed go up by 7 million next season the Maple Leafs, Lightning, and Panthers would all have plenty of space to try and sign Stamkos. Once money is no longer an issue it would come down to personal preference for Stamkos and who doesn't dream of playing for their hometown team someday.
Elliotte Friedman Links Steven Stamkos Back to Hometown Maple Leafs

Will Steven Stamkos sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Yes52846.1 %
No61753.9 %
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