Just after noon today the Tampa Bay Lightning mailed this press release with a statement from Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman regarding Captain Steven Stamkos.
STATEMENT FROM GM STEVE YZERMAN REGARDING STEVEN STAMKOS
TAMPA BAY - Tampa Bay Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman issued the following statement today regarding Steven Stamkos:
"As February 29th approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL’s trade deadline. I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations."
~BE THE THUNDER~
Yzerman is pretty much saying "Cool your jets guys." I think most of us knew that this was the case, that Yzerman would not be looking to trade Stamkos at the deadline unless this team was way out of the playoff race. There's no way that any team would be sending an asset back that would offset the loss of Stamkos as the team makes a push for the playoffs. There's still plenty of time for the contract to work itself out.
There were recent rumors going around that the 2016-17 NHL salary cap could be going down by as much as $4 million. There are obviously a lot of moving pieces for both sides of the Stamkos contract extension in terms of figuring out money and everything else. Ultimately, we'll find out Stamkos' fate when he signs a contract, whether it's with the Lightning or some other franchise shortly after July 1st, 2016.