It's the best time of year!
As announced by the Tampa Bay Lightning, RFA Steven Stamkos has signed a new five-year deal worth $7.5 million annually. Rumor mongers can move on now.
We pointed out last month that Stamkos was never going to leave Tampa, no matter what some people wanted you to believe. He means way too much to that franchise for GM Steve Yzerman to let him go, even for four first-round picks. Stamkos is the face of the franchise and, again, wasn’t going anywhere.
The $7.5 million cap hit is very good for Stamkos, who has scored 96 goals in the last two years. In fact, as noted by Nick Kypreos, the budding superstar took less money in the fifth year of his contract. That’s when Stamkos will be 26 and entering his prime. This contract is for less money than what Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin signed for in the year following their entry-level contracts.
Another positive is that Stamkos will still be a RFA when this deal expires, assuming the CBA terms stay the same
This leaves the Lightning with one more RFA to re-sign – Teddy Purcell. The team has $7.336 million of cap space, according to CapGeek.com. Chances are, once the Purcell contract is done, Yzerman will wait until September to make any more moves, if needed. It does not appear they will have to trade anyone away to make it all work.
With this contract situation out of the way, Stamkos and company look forward to improving and building off of their great 2010-11 campaign.
As far as RFA’s go, the attention now turns to Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty. A deal is not expected to be done anytime soon, and his camp may be waiting on Shea Weber’s terms with Nashville to be released to get further along in negotiations.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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