Is today a make or break day in the contract negotiations between the Lightning and star center Steven Stamkos?
It is difficult to say because neither general manager Steve Yzerman nor Stamkos' agents, Don Meehan and Mark Guy, are revealing specifics about the talks that are supposed to resume.
"I don't have anything to tell you," Guy wrote Tuesday in a text message, "other than Don and I will be continuing our discussions with Steve (today)."
"I'm optimistic we'll come to an agreement," Yzerman said. "Both sides have expressed an interest in getting something done. I'm open to listening to other ideas, and I look forward to the chance to speak to them about where we're at at this stage."
If Stamkos, 21, who has a league-best 96 goals the past two seasons, is not signed by noon Friday, he becomes a restricted free agent open to offer sheets from other teams. Speculation is the Flyers and Maple Leafs are contemplating. The Lightning can match any offer.
The stumbling block between Tampa Bay and Stamkos appears to be money. "I think we're both flexible on the term," Yzerman said. Nick Kypreos of Canada's Rogers Sportsnet TV network reported that Tampa Bay's offer works out to an average salary of $6.5 million. Yzerman said that is "not accurate."
But back to today.
"I don't know. It could be," Yzerman said when asked if it could be critical.
"This is an important (contract) for both parties. I think a lot of people are watching to see what happens with this. It has an effect on a lot around the league. We all have to be patient. We'll have more discussions. We'll get there eventually."
CONTRACTS: Yzerman on negotiations with right wing Teddy Purcell and goalie Dwayne Roloson: "I'm optimistic we'll get deals done on both players." … Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron signed a two-year, $2 million deal that will pay $1 million each season. … Right wing Adam Hall agreed to a one-year contract that should be signed soon. … The one-year contract defenseman Bruno Gervais signed Monday will pay $525,000.
Goalie Belfour leads Hall of Fame class
TORONTO — Former All-Star goalie Ed Belfour was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, joining Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk as the newest inductees. The former NHL players were chosen by the hall's 18-member selection committee. The induction ceremony is Nov. 14.
Belfour, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top goalie, posted 484 wins, third on the NHL career list, during a 17-year career. He won a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999.
Gilmour played 20 years and won the Cup in 1989. He finished with more than 1,400 career points. Howe, the son of Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, was a runnerup for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman) three times.
Nieuwendyk, GM of the Stars, won the Cup with three teams: Calgary, Dallas and New Jersey. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1999 with Dallas and twice scored at least 50 goals.
Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk was passed over for the second straight year. With 640 goals, he is the only 600-goal scorer not in the hall.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.