Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning: Wake me up when it's over

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21: Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning addresses the media at the 2011 NHL Awards nominee media availability at the Palms Casino Resort on June 21, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

So is anyone else tired of the mass hysteria and drama swirling around the Steven Stamkos deal?

Poor Erik Erlendsson from the Tampa Tribune. That man has the patience of a saint. He's been answering the same questions over and over and over and over and over again about Stamkos for about a week now on Twitter. I would've gone postal a long time ago, if I were him.

I can completely understand why fans aren't happy about the situation. Stamkos is a key player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, after all. His goal production alone - no matter what his age - is enough to sign him for a good, long time. And then when you do add in the fact that he's only 21 years old, well, that makes it even more important.

But, really, all of this panic shows a serious lack of trust in JM Steve Yzerman. And it also shows a lack of basic understanding in how the system works.

Stamkos is a restricted free agent. Pay attention to that word, "restricted". It means that while other teams can make offers, the Lightning have the ultimate final say. And Yzerman has already said that the Lightning would match anything any other team would offer.

So, you see, the panic is completely unfounded. Yes, another team can make an insane offer. But, it won't get them anywhere - which is likely why no one actually has so far. Sure, they talk about it - all kinds of rumors are flying, after all - but no one's been reported as actually having made a serious offer.

And all of these insane trade rumors are just nutty. Seriously. People think it's a good idea to trade half the team just to keep Stamkos? What good would that do? Yeah, you'd have a great player on the team, but then no one to play with him. I don't know about you, but I sort of liked that whole playoffs thing, you know?

To be honest, this whole hysteria is making me not want to read anything about hockey, let alone actually write anything about it. If all people are going to do is wildly speculate about Stamkos in the comments, then why bother? I'm not a big fan of drama in the first place; it makes me tired. And if writing something is just inviting drama to come visit me, then there's almost no point in posting stuff up.

The fact is of the matter is that Stamkos is staying with the Lightning. Period. And no one's going to be traded in order to keep him. All that we're waiting for now is to find out for how long and how much. And whether that takes until tomorrow or until September, well, that's up to Stamkos, his agent, and Yzerman. The fans don't figure into that at all.

So calm down and relax. Panicking isn't going to hurry anything along. And really, there are other things to talk about and speculate over that are far more uncertain. Like, NHL realignment, if the Norfolk Admirals will stay the AHL farm team for the Lightning, how the renovations are going at the St. Pete Times Forum, and of course rookie camp.

And if you want to chat about any of that, then I'm all ears. 

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