Stamkos 'disappointed' by lack of extension talks
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is frustrated that he still doesn't have a contract extension as training camp begins.
Stamkos, who's entering the last season of an eight-year contract with an $8.5-million cap hit, said that the lack of communication from the front office is upsetting.
"To be honest, I've been disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard," Stamkos told reporters, per ABC's Kyle Burger. "It was something that I expressed at the end of last year that I wanted get something done before training camp started. There haven't been any conversations."
Stamkos added that he's surprised the team hasn't shared the same eagerness to work out a new deal.
"I'm ready whenever," he said. "That was something I didn't see coming, but it is what it is."
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said keeping Stamkos in Tampa Bay for his entire career is "in everyone's best interest," but he acknowledged there's more to the situation than that.
"It's not just about Steven playing out his career in Tampa," the executive said, per team beat reporter Chris Krenn. "It's about Steven staying in Tampa and the Lightning remaining a legitimate Stanley Cup contender year in and year out for the remainder of his tenure as a player on the club.
"Steven and I share the common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa. That's our objective. In order for us to do that in future years, we're going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible."
The Lightning have not been shy about handing out extensions this offseason. They signed forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year, $52-million extension in August. What's more, the team projects to have over $12 million in cap space for next season with no key pending free agents outside of Stamkos.
Stamkos, 33, is still a highly productive player: He tallied 34 goals and 50 assists in 81 games last season.
The Markham, Ontario, native has spent his entire 15-year career with the Lightning after the club selected him first overall in 2008. He was named the team's captain in 2014 and helped lead the franchise to three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances from 2020-22, winning in 2020 and 2021.
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