Lightning plan to shelve talks with 'disappointed' Stamkos until after season
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he is disappointed about the lack of discussions with the team about a new contract.
Stamkos’ current $68 million, eight-year deals ends after the upcoming season, and he said there have not been any conversations about an extension.
“To be honest, I’m disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard,” Stamkos said Wednesday as Lightning players reported for the start of training camp. “It was something that I expressed at the end of last year that I wanted to get something done before training camp started."
Tampa Bay, which won the Stanley Cup back to back in 2020 and ’21 and lost in the final in ’22, has dealt with salary cap issues for a few years. The Lightning lost in the first round last season to Toronto.
General manager Julien BriseBois said it would be great if Stamkos could spend his entire career with the team but indicated there won't be any talks until after the season.
"Steven and I share a common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa — that’s our objective," BriseBois said. “In order for us to do that in future years, we’re going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible. In order for me to do that, I feel like I need to gather more information."
The Lightning this past offseason signed forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year, $52 million contract extension that kicks in for the 2024-25 season. Much of the team's core, from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak to forwards Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, have been signed long term — and Victor Hedman could be in line for a new deal next summer.
BriseBois said in regards to Stamkos he needs to see how the season plays out.
“I need to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit this year,” BriseBois. "After the season, once I’ve gathered that information, I can work with Steven and his agent on a contract structure that would be in the best interest of both sides.”
Stamkos, who turns 34 in February, reiterated his desire to finish his career with Tampa Bay, which took him first overall in the 2008 draft.
“I guess that was something that I didn’t see coming," Stamkos said. "It is what it is. I would love to extend and play here and finish out my career here, but that’s out of my hands. I can’t write a contract for myself.”
Stamkos reached the milestones of 1,000 games played (1,003) and 500 goals (515) last season, when he had 34 goals and 85 points in 81 games.
“I think it would be great for the organization if Steven could spend his entire career with the Lightning.” BriseBois said, “That’s in everyone’s best interest. Everyone knows what Steven means to our organization and his contributions to our team’s success goes beyond his performance on the ice.”