Skip to content
Steven Stamkos and images of a guy who knows it’s possibly over
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Last night, the Lightning were eliminated(controversially?) by the Panthers. The North Florida club lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second time in a row.

Yet Steven Stamkos refused to sign with Toronto eight years ago.

Trickery aside, this is a good time to talk about Steven Stamkos. After all, the captain’s contract expires on July 1, and there’s no telling what’s in store for him. Neither does he, obviously.

We all saw the images of the captain refusing to leave the rink (at Sunrise) before the others last night. These are images not to be taken lightly.

Am I saying, simply by looking at these images, that the Ontarian is going to leave Tampa? That’s not what I’m saying.

But what I am saying is that images like these often mean something. Remember how the Canadiens players reacted when the club lost in the final in 2021: they consoled Shea Weber.

And when you add the facts to the Stamkos situation, it makes you wonder.

After all, if Julien BriseBois (who undoubtedly wants to listen to his heart and keep him) could have, he would probably have started negotiating seriously with him almost a year ago to keep him in town. But that didn’t happen.

But now, even if everyone wants to keep him, we know that the club’s salary envelope could force Tampa not to offer him a contract commensurate with his talent and importance. Because yes, he’s important in Tampa: everyone knows it.

I don’t know if Martin St-Louis, Vincent Lecavalier or Stamkos is the most important player in franchise history, but whatever the answer, it shows how important he is to Tampa Bay right now.

People there don’t want to see him leave. But if that’s what’s going to happen, let’s bet the rumours will send him to the four corners of the NHL… including Montreal, where his former team-mates St-Louis and Lecavalier are working.

If I had a left-field pick to predict, I’d say Toronto, a club in need of another overpaid striker Salt Lake City would be a destination to watch. The club has room on the ground and on the ice, and I imagine Ryan Smith will want to make a big splash soon.

But regardless of the destination, if he doesn’t come back to Tampa, it’ll be… weird.

In gusto

– He did it right.

– Really?

– The NHL is behind other leagues. [JdeM]

– Fully deserved.

– A fight… unexpected.

More Content