Steven Stamkos is entering the final year of his contract, yet as recently as Sept. 4, general manager Steve Yzerman indicated there was no update in regards to an extension.
Yzerman stated after the Stanley Cup final was over that re-signing Stamkos was priority No. 1, the situation may not be as clear cut as one might assume.
Stamkos prefers to play centre, which creates a top-six logjam with Valtteri Filppula and triplet Tyler Johnson. It sounds like the Lightning would prefer Stamkos to play on the wing to ease that issue. From what I’ve been told, the discussions were professional, but both organization and player remain searching for common ground.
The other hurdle is the contract negotiation, with Stamkos seeking an AAV of $10.5 million / year. The Lightning might not want to go that high in salary. By the end of the 2016-17 season, they must determine long-term plans for Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman, Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. With a Stamkos cap hit of $10.5M, the Lightning will not be able to retain the core players.
Friedman’s sources indicate teams called Yzerman to ask about the availability of Steven Stamkos. Others say the Lightning wanted to check the market in case they eventually had to trade Stamkos.