Stamkos, Lightning likely headed for a messy divorce after latest report

Published September 22, 2023 at 1:24 PM

Perhaps the biggest story in the NHL right now, following the Mike Babcock saga, is the newly forming rift between Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and GM Julien BriseBois over a lack of traction on his contract extension. Stamkos is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2024 and had expressed at the end of last season that he really wanted to get something done prior to training camp, which has not happened.

Per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, Stamkos leaving Tampa wouldn't bother too many people within the organization, which is surprising to hear when you consider the fact that he just led them to a pair of Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021.

"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." Friedman said.

Friedman also dropped a big piece of news, stemming from Stamkos' 2016 free agent tour, in which he allowed several teams to pitch to him before ultimately re-signing in Tampa for 8 years. Friedman revealed that, had Stamkos not re-signed in Tampa, he had selected Buffalo and Toronto as the two finalists to enlist his services.

Stamkos, 33, has spent his entire career with the Lightning after they selected him with the first-overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and has been a key piece to the franchise since entering the league. Stamkos has led the Lightning to two Stanley Cups, while scoring 515 goals in 1,003 games so far.

It's not often that you hear about a team not absolutely revering its captain. If the team in Tampa is not overly bothered by the idea of losing Stamkos next summer as a free agent, then this partnership is probably already over, even before we get to July 1st, 2024.

September 22   |   103 answers
Stamkos, Lightning likely headed for a messy divorce after latest report

Will this be Steven Stamkos' last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning?

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