No matter how negotiations go between agent Don Meehan and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, Steven Stamkos will remain a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the rest of this season.
In a statement released on Monday, the Lightning general manager announced that Stamkos will not be dealt by the Feb. 29th NHL trade deadline.
“As February 29th approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL’s trade deadline. I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations.”
The 26-year-old Stamkos, who has a no-movement clause in his contract, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
With the Lightning currently holding one of the two Eastern Conference wild card spots and having eyes on going back to the Stanley Cup Final, of course they wouldn’t trade Stamkos now.
While this might be an attempt to quell speculation (especially since the Lightning play in Toronto on deadline day), it only means trade scenarios will have to use the NHL Draft in June as a setting until the two parties come to an extension. It also will not stop the questions from coming toward Stamkos on a consistent basis about his contract status and future in Tampa.
Stamkos has said he’d like to remain with the Lightning, and the longer negotiations go without a resolution, the bigger the risk Yzerman takes with letting the face of the franchise walk for nothing.
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