When Steven Stamkos came off of his entry level contract after the 2010-11 season and became a restricted free agent, there was a huge hustle and bustle in social (and national) media about if some other team would come in with a huge offer sheet in an attempt to steal him away from the Lightning. This circus ended up being dubbed "#Stammergeddon" and was brought to a halt in mid-July when Stammer agreed to terms to a new, 5-year contract. Now that the playoffs are officially over, Stammergeddon 2.0 is kicking off:
It will be a short hiatus for me since the draft is next weekend (Say what?) followed by free agency July 1 and Stammergeddeon 2.0— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) June 17, 2015
Much like Erik Erlendsson, the Raw Charge staff is taking a little bit of a break to recharge and get ready for the draft and free agency. That hasn't stopped the first rumblings of Stammergeddon 2.0, however. It's already started with Don Cherry making comments on Twitter that he thinks Stamkos will wait it out and become a free agent after next season.
None of us know what goes on inside of Stamkos' head (or what his agent advises him to do), but he certainly hasn't given any public indications he wants to leave. He is the captain and face of the Lightning franchise surrounded by an amazingly talented, young team that is poised to contend for years to come. Few other teams are in that same kind of position.
Teh Toronto Maple Leafs, who are always listed as the place Stamkos would want to go, are in the middle of rebuilding and franchise reorganization. Stamkos has already gone through a couple of team rebuilds while with the Lightning, the first as a rookie, the next as Steve Yzerman took over and then these last few years. Would he want to go through another rebuild and the growing pains that come with them while he's entering the prime of his career?
Stamkos and Yzerman can't officially sign a new deal until free agency starts on July 1st, but you have to know that both the Lightning and Stamkos' camp have already discussed what it will take to get a new deal done. Yzerman even told the press Wednesday that a Stamkos extension is his number one priority for this offseason.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane signed "maximum deals" in 2014 with the Chicago Blackhawks; 8 year extensions for $84 million total and matching $10.5 million cap hits. It would be perfectly reasonable for Stamkos to look for a similar deal with an inflation bump; 8 years, $88 million for an $11 million cap hit. His current cap hit is $7.5 million so a $3.5 million raise is a major, long-term re-investment from the team.
There's still an outside chance that Stamkos would be willing to take a discount to help the team keep the roster intact, after all that raise would be the difference between keeping someone like Alex Killorn or being forced to part ways with him, but don't count on it. We may expect loyalty from players to do such a thing out of loyalty to the franchise, but this is business and players are the ones putting their bodies on the line and they deserve to be well compensated for doing so. Stamkos' next deal is as much about paying him for past performance and dedication as it is about future performance.