Lightning's Steven Stamkos doing 'due diligence' on contract
When it comes to the contract saga of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, things have remained pretty quiet.
Both sides have refrained from speaking publicly on the subject, with general manager Steve Yzerman always saying, "when there's announcement to make, we'll announce it." Stamkos, in the final year of his current contract, told the Times before the season that they'll continue to work on an extension "when the time is right."
But Stamkos' agent, Don Meehan from Newport Sports, did shed some light on the subject Monday night in an interview with Toronto's TSN 1050. Meehan said while there were "some issues" he and Stamkos dealt with at the end of the year, they are "engaged" with Yzerman and are just practicing "due diligence to the nth degree."
"All that we're really doing at this point in time is taking a little bit more time," Meehan said. "But we're engaged with Steve Yzerman. And as I say, we have a great relationship with him. And when you get to a point in a career where you have professional decisions to make like this - as you know, the Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn't really afford you this kind of opportunity that often. And the Collective Bargaining Agreement is a give and take process, and it's something that you - for this kind of a decision and this kind of player, I really think that you have to practice due diligence to the nth degree."
Meehan was at the Lightning game in Buffalo Thursday, but Yzerman indicated that was more due to the fact it was a short drive from the Newport Sports offices around Toronto, and he has other Tampa Bay clients (Vladislav Nametnikov, Ondrej Palat). Stamkos could warrant a deal similar to the eight-year, $84 million contracts Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews signed in the summer of 2014. Any time there's that big of a deal, it tends to take time. Meehan said while it's not the "norm" for a star player to be unsigned in his contract year, he points out it's not "unprecedented." One of Meehan's clients, the Ducks' Corey Perry, signed a eight-year $69 million deal in March 2013, months away from free agency.
Perry offered his perspective on the situation in a recent Times story.
"You can sign at any point in time," Perry said.