Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Toronto's Dion Phaneuf trade stokes Stamkos speculation

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) works to play the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during third  period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/21/16). DIRK SHADD   |   Times

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) works to play the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during third period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/21/16). DIRK SHADD | Times

MONTREAL — The Maple Leafs made a blockbuster nine-player trade with Ottawa Tuesday, fueling speculation they were laying groundwork for an offseason offer for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

"This gives us the opportunity to do things," Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "This was a transaction that certainly wasn't for today."

How about July 1? If Stamkos remains unsigned, he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and many believe his hometown Maple Leafs will make a strong bid. And in unloading captain Dion Phaneuf, who carried a $7 million cap hit the next five seasons, Toronto continues to gain more financial flexibility, with just $25 million committed to five players in 2017-18.

Stamkos, who has a full no-move clause, has maintained he wants to stay in Tampa Bay, remaining hopeful a deal can get done. The Lightning has reportedly offered Stamkos an extension with an $8.5 million annual average, though other teams, like the Maple Leafs, could potentially offer north of $10 million if he hits the open market.

Stamkos also has a strong desire to win the Stanley Cup, and the Maple Leafs are in rebuilding mode. Toronto, in its first year under coach Mike Babcock, entered Tuesday tied for the fewest points in the league.

"We're not ready to win," Babcock told reporters Tuesday.

In the Phaneuf deal, Toronto added prospect Tobias Lindberg, defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Milan Michalek and Colin Greening and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft. But after this trade, the last-place Maple Leafs could also wind up with the No. 1 pick, giving them the best chance to take prized center prospect Auston Matthews.

It just doesn't guarantee that Toronto will land Stamkos.

Toronto's Dion Phaneuf trade stokes Stamkos speculation 02/09/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 10:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' Blake Snell erasing memories of his poor start

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — As Blake Snell strides up the mound at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with an 10-game unbeaten streak, doesn't the miserable start to his sophomore season, when he was winless in eight starts and got demoted to Triple-A, seem like a long time ago?

    To him, too.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the dugout during the fourth inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  3. Jake Dotchin on rule violation: 'It's hurting me'


    While defenseman Jake Dotchin continues to practice with the Lightning, it's uncertain when - or if - he'll get any preseason action.

    Jake Dotchin violated an unspecified team rule, which is why he hasn't played in the first four games.
  4. PolitiFact: Trump's Mostly False claim that NFL ratings are 'way down'


    The statement

    "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country."

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  5. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]