The Tampa Bay Lightning have wasted no time getting first overall draft pick Steven Stamkos under contract.
The Lightning have signed Stamkos to a standard rookie deal of three years at $875,000 annually on Tuesday. Stamkos can also earn as much $8.55-million in performance bonuses over the life of the contract. Under the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, rookie salaries are based up the player's draft position.
"It is with great pleasure that we formally announce the signing of Steven today," vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said in a statement.
"It is obvious to all of our staff in a brief period of time that Steven is a very special young man with great potential. His work ethic and eagerness to learn have been very impressive. We believe with our veteran leadership that Tampa Bay is the perfect scenario for Steven to grow and mature as a player and person on and off the ice."
Stamkos is currently taking part in the Lightning's prospect camp in Victoria, British Columbia.
It is Stamkos' desire to be able to make the team right away and earn playing time.
"I know it's not going to be easy for me to step in right away," told the CANADIAN PRESS.
"Hopefully I can earn my stripes and play well and really deserve to be there."
Stamkos was second in the Ontario Hockey League with 58 goals (105 points) for the Sarnia Sting this season and is expected to compete for a spot on the second line.
Newly hired head coach Barry Melrose expects Stamkos to be a big part of what he is trying to do in Florida.
"Steven Stamkos is the future of Tampa Bay," Melrose told THE CANADIAN PRESS.
"We like what we see, we like his mental makeup, we like his physical skills, he's very gifted and he's a good guy to start the future with, so we're very happy with the luck of getting Steven Stamkos first overall."