Insider links Steven Stamkos to Western Conference team

Cooper Godin
June 26, 2024  (5:23 PM)

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
Photo credit: NHL.com

The NHL's free agent market is set to open on Monday, July 1st at 12 pm ET and it looks as if Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos may end up being available.

Stamkos, who's spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Lightning, has yet to sign an extension in Tampa Bay and while there's still five days to go until the market opens, it seems like testing free agency is at least a possibility at this time.
On The Jeff Marek Show on Wednesday afternoon, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman revealed that there is a chance he tests the open market, but the Lightning are aware that Stamkos' preference is to re-sign.
"I think the Lightning have known he'd prefer to stay," Friedman said. "I think they gamble with that a bit. ... It's not going to be on his terms so much, it's going to be on their terms. So, does any part of him change his mind? Does any part of him say, 'You know what? I'd rather do this on my terms.' So, I don't have the answer to that yet, but I do think there is a scenario where that could happen, yes."

If Stamkos does become an unrestricted free agent on Monday, there certainly won't be a shortage of teams interested in signing him. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the Nashville Predators are looking for scoring help and are interested in Steven Stamkos.
"The Predators also want to find some offensive pop up front. I believe they have interest in the likes of Steven Stamkos and Chandler Stevenson, if those pending UFAs hit the market, among several other forward targets." LeBrun said.

The Markham, Ontario native had a great season for the Lightning, recording his seventh-career 40+ goal season. In 79 games, Stamkos had 81 points (40 goals, 41 assists), 34 penalty minutes and was a minus-21. He then did all he could during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to keep the Lightning afloat, scoring five goals in five games, but they were eliminated in the first round by the eventual champions.
Steven Stamkos will be a name to keep an eye on as it could be make or break in the coming days on if he returns to the Tampa Bay Lightning or leaves the organization and signs with a new team.
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Insider links Steven Stamkos to Western Conference team

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