Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Ben Bishop stays put with Lightning but Stamkos' status grows shakier

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Goalie Ben Bishop is still with the Lightning, at least for now, his chances of starting the season in Tampa Bay seeming to increase after not getting dealt during Friday's first round of the NHL draft.

But captain Steven Stamkos might have taken one step closer to leaving.

Calgary had targeted Bishop in a potential trade, but Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he didn't come close to dealing the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist.

The Flames ended up trading for Blues goalie Brian Elliott, giving up the 35th overall pick Friday and a conditional third rounder next year. The Flames were given permission to discuss a potential contract with Bishop's camp, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported, but those talks were never initiated.

However, there likely will be many talks initiated starting today with Stamkos, who at midnight Friday reached the five-day interview window, where interested teams can court him. He'll be an unrestricted free agent — he now has a full no-move clause — July 1.

There will be no shortage of suitors, notably the Red Wings, who created significant cap space by dealing the contract of Pavel Datsyuk, GM Ken Holland saying they're targeting an impact forward in free agency to replace him.

"Well, obviously we've got the flexibility now to do what we want to do," Holland said. "We'll see."

Yzerman maintained he hasn't closed any doors on signing the 26-year-old Stamkos, or ruled anything out, but he didn't seem optimistic when asked if he still felt like Tampa Bay had a shot, even with Stamkos talking to other teams.

"I'd prefer not to share how I feel," he said, smiling.

The Lightning has reportedly offered Stamkos an extension with an annual average of $8.5 million, likely short of what other teams will offer. Asked if he has made his final offer to Stamkos, Yzerman said, "I haven't given you anything up until now, I'm going to keep it that way."

Another option, if the Lightning knows it can't sign Stamkos, would be to do a sign-and-trade deal, as Tampa Bay is the only team that can give the All-Star an eight-year deal. Yzerman said he has "never given that a thought," likely because he's focused on signing Stamkos, but he added, "maybe I should think about it."

"Losing (Stamkos) for nothing or losing him for an asset, I'd love to get an asset," Yzerman said.

The same goes for Bishop, 29. Yzerman knows that with an expansion draft looming next summer before a new Las Vegas team enters the league, he'd likely lose either Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy, 21. Bishop, who has one year left on his deal at $5.95 million, could get dealt this summer or before next season's trade deadline, but the Flames getting Elliott took one big potential suitor off the market.

Calgary snagged Elliott — who, like Bishop, has one year left on his deal — for likely less than Bishop would have commanded. Some wondered if a potential offer for Bishop would have included the sixth overall pick, which Calgary used to draft wing Matt Tkachuk. Elliott's return was similar to what the Ducks got from the Leafs for Frederik Andersen (30th overall pick this season and a second-round pick next season).

Yzerman is prepared to deal a goalie, if it makes sense, but it just didn't on Friday.

"I would prefer to get an asset than lose one of these guys," Yzerman said. "I think I will lose one in expansion."

Whether Yzerman has lost Stamkos remains to be seen.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

   
Comments
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I'm going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years....
Published: 04/20/18
NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

The NHL got it right.Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning's top scorer and best player so far in these playoffs, will play Saturday's Game 5 against New Jersey. He's not going to be suspended for his vicious hit on a Devils player in Tampa Bay's Game 4 vic...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Published: 04/19/18
Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

TAMPA — The second period was not even four minutes old Wednesday night when Devils right wing Patrick Maroon skated all alone toward Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was a moment that could turn a game and even a series.A goal and the score would be tie...
Published: 04/19/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Former UCF and Lakewood High standout Shaquem Griffin understandably has been focused on the NFL draft next week in Arlington, Tex., where he is projected as a potential second-day pick.But the Lightning's playoff run  hasn't escaped his attenti...
Published: 04/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Nikita Kucherov drives Lightning past Devils

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Nikita Kucherov drives Lightning past Devils

Nikita Kucherov scores two goals and delivers some big hits as the Lightning beats the Devils, 3-1, in a physical Game 4 that pushes Tampa Bay to within one win of clinching the series.Meanwhile, the Rays beat the Rangers to as Jake Faria pitche...
Published: 04/19/18
Lightning holds off Devils and David Puddy

Lightning holds off Devils and David Puddy

NEWARK, N.J. — The Devils pulled out all the stops for Wednesday's Game 4 of their Stanley Cup quarter final series with the Lightning by inviting David Puddy at the Prudential Center.For those who do not know who he is, Puddy was Elaine's...
Published: 04/19/18
Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

NEWARK, N.J. — Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Taking Care of Business shook the walls of the Lightning locker room not long after it dispatched the Devils in Wednesday's Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.The 3-1 win was sparked by Nikita K...
Published: 04/18/18