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)

Longevity, lack of state income tax remain Lightning's aces with Steven Stamkos

Steven Stamkos might get a bigger deal elsewhere, but state income tax — which Florida doesn’t have — must be considered.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steven Stamkos might get a bigger deal elsewhere, but state income tax — which Florida doesn’t have — must be considered.

TAMPA — With captain Steven Stamkos just three days from being the most coveted unrestricted free agent in years, there will be no shortage of suitors likely offering more annually than the Lightning.

Tampa Bay is still in the mix, though it would seem to have a better chance if it can sign Stamkos, 26, before Friday's opening of free agency, when it loses a key economic advantage.

Aside from being seemingly the best on-ice fit, the Lightning, which is believed to have offered Stamkos an extension worth $8.5 million annually, holds a couple x-factors over other suitors — there's no state income tax in Florida and the Lightning is the only team that can offer him an eight-year contract (others only seven).

As a Tampa Bay Times analysis in January showed, Stamkos could net nearly the same annually after taxes in Tampa Bay at $8.5 million as $10 million in New York (Rangers, Islanders), presuming he'd be a New York City resident; Stamkos would make more over the length of the deal in Tampa because of the extra year. Stamkos would net $500,000 less annually than a $10 million deal with Detroit, another strong suitor, but, again, more over the length of the deal.

And Stamkos' hometown Maple Leafs, due to a 53.53 percent combined federal/provincial tax rate, would have to offer him $12.37 million annually over seven years to net the same as he'd make over eight years at $8.5 million in Tampa, according to national sports tax guru Robert Raiola, the director of the Sports and Entertainment group at PKF O'Connor Davis, who has professional sports clients throughout the country.

Quebec (53.31 percent), where Montreal plays, has almost the same combined tax rate as Toronto; British Columbia (where the Canucks play) is 47.7 percent. Of course, Toronto likely offers more endorsement opportunities.

The key, however, is that eighth year, and the Lightning loses that advantage on July 1, when all teams — including Tampa Bay — can only offer seven years.

Under a seven-year deal in Tampa Bay, Stamkos would net $32 million, less than other suitors, including $4 million less than in Detroit and Boston.

Money isn't the only factor in Stamkos' decision, the All-Star center saying he wants to stay in Tampa Bay and have a chance to win his first Stanley Cup. But other teams are expected to make big splashes to woo him. One is Buffalo, where general manager Tim Murray talked openly about being able to win paying one player an average of $10 million to $12 million a season.

What if the Sabres offer Stamkos $12 million over seven years? The Lightning, over an eight-year deal, would have to offer $9.7 million annually to net the same after taxes. That would be a sizable bump from the reported offer from Tampa Bay, which is cap crunched and likely unable to go much higher. The highest-paid players in the NHL are Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews ($10.5 million annual average).

Teams in states with no state income tax make sure to sell that.

"In my mind it's a factor you always look at," said agent Steven Bartlett, who represents Lightning wing Ryan Callahan. "I know some of the big stars get hung up on the number because it's almost an egotistical thing — and I'm not saying it's this way with Stamkos. I'm just saying a guy feels like, 'He gets 10 (million), I need 10 (million). I need nine just to validate.' But if you're smart you realize, 'I have to run the calculation.' It isn't always just the number that's thrown out there that's the real number.

"And, believe me, the teams that have the advantage are more than willing to point that out to you, too."

Just getting to this five-day interview window likely made it more challenging for the Lightning to sign Stamkos, now that there's more bidders. And in three days, it'd lose one of its biggest financial recruiting tools.

It just hopes it won't lose the face of its franchise.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Dot i's, cross t's, watch those decimal points on potential Stamkos offers

8-Year

Tampa Bay
7-year Tampa Bay7-Year

New York
7-Year

Detroit
7-year

Buffalo
7-year

Boston
7-year Toronto
Gross Income 68,000,000 59,500,000 70,000,000 70,000,00070,000,00070,000,00070,000,000
Agent Fees 2,720,000 2,380,000 2,800,000 2,800,0002,800,0002,800,0002,800,000
Federal Tax 26,712,72823,373,637 24,770,032 26,443,31225,845,57526,860,12737,471,000
State/City/Jock Tax 1,785,0001,561,875 8,879,262 4,653,810 6,169,1214,035,500
Net Income36,782,27232,184,48833,550,706 36,102,87835,185,30436,304,37329,729,000

Assumes $8.5 million average annual salary offer from Tampa Bay and $10 million average elsewhere

Longevity, lack of state income tax remain Lightning's aces with Steven Stamkos 06/27/16 [Last modified: Monday, June 27, 2016 11:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]