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Wheels in motion for new deal for Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos

LOS ANGELES — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was expected Thursday to speak to the agent for Steven Stamkos about starting negotiations on a contract extension for the star center.

"Initially, we'd just like to sit down and have a conversation about how we want to proceed," Yzerman said. "We intend to do that."

"Both sides want to get going on this," agent Mark Guy said. "We'll get something started in the next week or two."

Keep in mind, the Lightning faces the Maple Leafs on Nov. 30 in Toronto, near the Mississauga, Ontario, offices of Don Meehan's Newport Sports Management, for whom Guy works.

But Guy said there is no timetable.

"This doesn't mean anything other than talking about our upcoming schedule," Guy said.

Stamkos, 20, who entered Thursday with a league-best 20 points and tied for the lead with 10 goals, is in the final season of a three-year entry-level deal with a base salary of $875,000.

Speculation is he could sign for at least five years at up to $7 million per season. Tampa Bay would love to get a deal done before the season is finished and Stamkos becomes a restricted free agent.

"Both sides are open to it," Guy said. "It's going to depend on the factors that come into negotiations. But both sides are comfortable and happy to start the process and get something done before the season is out."

"I'd like to get it done as soon as possible," Stamkos said. "It's a great organization. They're going to do their stuff. But for me, I'm just focused on my game."

GAGNE'S INJURY: Officially, LW Simon Gagne has a strained neck, but Yzerman said given the player's concussion history, the team is being careful with his rehabilitation.

"It's a gray area," Yzerman said. "He had an MRI, and the neurologist was comfortable that he didn't see an injury on the brain. You can see a lot of different doctors, and they will tell you a lot of different things, so it comes down to how someone feels. We're trying to progress slowly."

Gagne, out six games since the Islanders' Michael Grabner checked him into the boards Oct. 21, is cleared to exercise, Boucher said, and completed his first day without ill effects.

ODDS AND ENDS: LW Ryan Malone played his 450th NHL game. His first game also was in Los Angeles. … D Randy Jones played last season for the Kings and said, "I enjoyed my time there."

Wheels in motion for new deal for Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos 11/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 7:49am]
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