Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman on Stamkos contract negotiations: "We're going to get there"
This is how desperate we are for news concerning contract negotiations between the Tampa Bay Lightning and All-Star center Steven Stamkos that we are down to dissecting every word uttered on the subject.
Such was the case Wednesday night, when Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman went beyond his usual theme that he is "optimistic" a deal will get done. Yzerman did use that word again, but he added some substance that should give Lightning fans a reason to come in off the ledge.
"Yes," Yzerman said when asked if he and Stamkos' agent Don Meehan, to whom he spoke on Wednesday, were actually making progress. "We're working towards getting a deal done. We're going to get there. I'll be patient and, again, optimistic that we'll reach an agreement. I don't want to give you a timeframe on anything, but I believe we'll get there."
Meehan did not immediately respond to an email. And to be fair, both sides have agreed not to speak much to the media so as not to say the wrong thing. Still, compared to what we've been getting, Yzerman's comment was like opening what had been a dripping faucet.
Yzerman has been in Toronto since free agency opened on Friday. The agency that represents Stamkos is located outside Toronto in Mississauga, Ontario. Yzerman said he expects to remain in Canada through Friday and then return to Tampa for the team's development camp at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.
It is believed Yzerman has offered Stamkos a five-year deal with an average salary of $7.5 million.