Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Steve Yzerman seeks clarity on Steven Stamkos situation by weekend

Lightning center Steven Stamkos can be a free agent July 1.

Lightning center Steven Stamkos can be a free agent July 1.

TAMPA — The first domino in what promises to be a busy — and potentially defining — Lightning offseason is the future of captain Steven Stamkos.

"Obviously Stammer's situation has a significant impact on what we do moving forward, and what we can do," general manager Steve Yzerman said.

And that's why Yzerman said Monday he hopes to have some clarity by this weekend on Stamkos, 26, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"We're doing all we can to sign him," Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. "For us, we'd like to know sooner than later."

Stamkos can begin to talk with other teams Saturday, when a week-long interview period opens, and Yzerman would like to have a clear idea of "where we are" before that.

That could make this weekend's NHL draft, Friday and Saturday in Buffalo, even more interesting.

"At some point on other players, I have to make decisions, whether it'd be restricted free agents, or potential trades or qualifying offers and things like that," Yzerman said. "I've got to make decisions and they can't be put off forever."

Yzerman said he has reached out to his several restricted free agents, including wing Nikita Kucherov, who is due a hefty raise from his $700,000 salary; Paul Corbiel, agent for unrestricted free agent Jonathan Marchessault, said there's mutual interest in a return. With next year's salary cap expected to remain relatively flat, knowing what Yzerman is able to spend (with or without Stamkos), will be helpful with the likes of Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov and J.T. Brown, among others. And teams could come in with offer sheets on the restricted free agents, driving the price up.

"That's obviously a concern," Yzerman said. "I don't know what other teams' plans are. If we're put in that situation, we'll make decisions when we have to."

Stamkos' pending decision has been the talk of the hockey world; a 312-goal scorer in his prime rarely hits the free agent market. Stamkos has said he wants to stay in Tampa Bay, where he has been since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2008, and Yzerman said he has been in talks with the All-Star and his agents at Newport Sports since the end of the season.

"Nothing has changed," Yzerman said.

Though neither Yzerman nor Stamkos' agents have discussed negotiations publicly, Sportsnet reported this year that the Lightning offered the All-Star center a deal with an $8.5 million annual average. The Lightning will be in a cap crunch in coming years with Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and, possibly, Ben Bishop needing new deals in the next two seasons, so might not be able to go much higher than that, even for Stamkos, who made $7.5 million last season.

Tampa Bay could clear cap space by buying out a player such as defenseman Matt Carle ($5.5 million cap hit the next two seasons); Yzerman, without addressing any player specifically, said a buyout is "always a possibility" before the June 30 deadline.

If the Lightning realizes it can't sign Stamkos, it could try to trade his rights, but would need the captain's permission as he has a full no-move clause. But Yzerman said, at this point, he has only spoken with Stamkos and his agents about signing him, not trading his rights.

"To be honest with you, it's out of my control," Yzerman said. "He's an unrestricted free agent on July 1. I can't force him to sign a contract with us if he doesn't want to. If he wants to go to July 1, he has that right."

Yzerman just hopes to know soon.

NHL trades

Ducks-Leafs: The Ducks broke up their successful goaltending tandem Monday, trading Frederik Andersen to Toronto for the 30th overall selection in Friday's draft and a second-rounder in 2017. Andersen has shared Anaheim's crease with John Gibson for parts of two seasons.

Rangers-Panthers: New York swapped the negotiating rights to unrestricted free agent defenseman Keith Yandle to Florida for a sixth round pick in next weekend's draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2017.

Sabres-Predators: Buffalo acquired the rights to unsigned forward prospect Jimmy Vesey for a third-round pick in this weekend's draft.

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning's Steve Yzerman seeks clarity on Steven Stamkos situation by weekend 06/20/16 [Last modified: Monday, June 20, 2016 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.