02/24/2024

STL:

1

DET:

6

Final

MTL:

3

NJD:

4

Final

TBL:

4

NYI:

2

Final

NYR:

2

PHI:

1

Final

WSH:

2

FLA:

3

Final

TOR:

4

COL:

3

Final

VGK:

3

OTT:

4

Final

BOS:

2

VAN:

3

Final

DAL:

2

CAR:

1

Final

CGY:

6

EDM:

3

Final

MIN:

5

SEA:

2

Final

NSH:

4

SJS:

2

Final

ANA:

2

LAK:

3

Final

02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

MTL:

0

07:00 ET

TBL:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

VGK:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

MIN:

0

08:00 ET

OTT:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

STL:

0

WPG:

0

08:00 ET

LAK:

0

CGY:

0

09:00 ET

DAL:

0

COL:

0

09:30 ET

PIT:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

NJD:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

02/28/2024

CBJ:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

EDM:

0

08:30 ET

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/01/2024

ARI:

0

OTT:

0

07:00 ET

PHI:

0

WSH:

0

07:00 ET

NJD:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

Stamkos Expresses Disappointment Over Lack of Contract Extension

Steven Stamkos on the ice for the Tampa Bay Lightning
Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

With training camps getting underway this past week, one of the biggest storylines was Steven Stamkos publicly stating his feelings regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization not yet reaching out to begin negotiating a contract extension.

Entering the final year of an eight-year deal signed two days before the opening of free agency in 2016, Stamkos made his desire to remain a Bolt for life well-known during last season’s exit interviews. He has served as the team’s captain since March of 2014 and is coming off a season that saw him reach four career milestones (500 goals, 500 assists, 1,000 points, and 1,000 games played).

Lightning general manager Julien Brisebois responded by saying that he wants to wait until after the season to see what the salary cap is like and how different pieces, Stamkos included, perform in the 2023-24 season.

Is that a smart approach?

No one can say for sure. It carries plenty of risks, as the fact Stamkos’ future remains uncertain beyond this season could lead to a growing rift between him and Lightning management. That could seep into the locker room, and the team could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18’.

Even if the above doesn’t occur, will Stamkos really be willing to take another hometown discount to play out his career in Tampa, knowing that management didn’t value him enough to start negotiations once he became eligible to re-sign? He isn’t getting any younger, so having an established home is a priority.

Bolts fans have seen it before, with former captains and star players leaving the Lightning late in their careers and struggling to find their footing. Vincent Lecavalier ended his career with the Philadelphia Flyers after being bought out by the Bolts and wasn’t really effective. Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers at the 2014 Trade Deadline, and after delivering an inspirational postseason performance by leading the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals, he fell off and couldn’t regain his elite form.

Stamkos would like to avoid that, knowing he likely has a few more years of good hockey left in him. Moving homes could mess with his mind though, causing him to experience struggles earlier than needed.

Brisebois, however, faces a big dilemma. The Lightning have been forced to lose key players each of the past few offseasons in order to re-sign core guys like Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev, and Andrei Vasilevskiy among others, to long-term deals and still remain cap compliant.

The salary cap is finally expected to go up in the 2024 offseason, but by how much? That’s still a mystery. Brisebois knows that and has to operate as if the increase is minimal until he has a concrete number to work with.

Stamkos has said that he’s willing to negotiate during the season, but that doesn’t seem to be something Brisebois is willing to do.

For Stamkos, that’s tough because the longer he goes without knowing his future destination, the more it could weigh on his mind. That, in turn, could lead to mental mistakes, which may prove costly to a Lightning team that’s going to have to battle just to make the playoffs in a stacked Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division.

Lauren Burg

Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer for “Inside the Rink.” A lifelong Tampa Bay Area resident, she graduated from the University of South Florida’s world-renowned journalism program in December 2009. While in college, she discovered hockey and the Tampa Bay Lightning. She quickly became a passionate fan, attending many games over the years. She also experienced an All-Star game in 2018, numerous road games, and, most recently, the Bolts back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Since graduating college, she’s been working hard to combine her two loves, writing and hockey, hoping to one day make that her full-time career. In her free time, she enjoys attending sporting events (both home & road when possible), taking photos, and traveling.

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