NHL Rumors: Steven Stamkos and the Toronto Maple Leafs
Steven Stamkos, Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto Maple Leafs

On the Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Stamkos and the Toronto Maple Leafs …

  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: Word is the Lightning aren’t close to a contract extension with Steven Stamkos. Reports last month were that the Lightning offered Stamkos eight-years at a $8.5 million cap hit. Belief is that Stamkos wants close to eight-years and a $10.5 million cap hit.Rumors are that Stamkos will sign with the Maple Leafs if he goes to the open market.

    Teams will be calling the Lightning before the trade deadline to see what the asking price for Stamkos would be. Since the Lightning are in the playoff race, they are going to want to keep their players.

    Stamkos has a no-movement clause. If GM Steve Yzerman had a deal in place for Stamkos, would think that Stamkos might be willing to waive it as it shows him they aren’t interested in re-signing him.

    “I don’t think they’re going to trade him. They’re playing so well right now. That would be a gutsy move,” said a league executive.

    If they Lightning are going to trade him, they may also try to get another contract or two off their books – Matt Carle and his $5.5 million for two more years. Yzerman may take less in a trade to move out more salary.

  • Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times: The Maple Leafs were going to take a run at Steven Stamkos if he got to July 1st even if they still had Dion Phaneuf. Does Stamkos even want to play in Toronto? There will be many teams interested, and many in a better position to win sooner than the Leafs.

    But the longer this contract saga drags out, and the closer it gets to July 1, the more any move by the Maple Leafs will be linked to landing the city’s favorite son.

    It just doesn’t mean they will.

  • Damien Cox: “Look, if Stamkos wants the $$$, the fame, the endorsements and to play in his hometown, he’ll come. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Pretty simple.”
  • Kevin Paul Dupont: “Thinking Stamkos would leave TBL for TOR is believing that he loved working for a startup and now wants to do it again. Bcz it’s a blast.”
  • Ken Campbell: “Phaneuf deal does not, repeat does not, open up cap space for run at Stamkos. In short term, Leafs actually took on more cap space.”
  • Chris Nichols of Today’s Slapshot: Bob McKenzie on TSN 1040 on if it’s a lock that Steven Stamkos will sign with the Maple Leafs now that they have more salary cap space to do it.

    “No, not at all. And for a couple of reasons here.

    “No. 1, whether they traded Dion Phaneuf or not, there’s no doubt in my mind if Stamkos goes to July 1, the Leafs were going to take a really good run at Steven Stamkos. That’s with or without Phaneuf. So yeah, if he’s a free agent on July 1, I fully expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to go in there and give it their best pitch and see if it works. But they didn’t have to trade Phaneuf to do that. It certainly makes it easier to digest, and they would have had to do other things. If they were able to sign Stamkos on July 1, then would have to look at other moves to make room for him.

    “But the second part of that is does Steven Stamkos want to play in Toronto? I don’t know that he does. I know that Leafs fans assume that he does. But I think there’s often times a disconnect on that.

  • Frank Seravalli of TSN: The Dion Phaneuf trade to Ottawa increases the Maple Leafs salary flexibility going forward.

    “This is a transaction that wasn’t for today,” Lamoriello said. “This gives us the opportunity to do things.”

    Should Steven Stamkos hit the open market, it will be easier for the Maple Leafs to potentially fit him in. Stamkos hasn’t given any indication that he wants to play for the Maple Leafs.