Lightning GM addresses Steven Stamkos' future in Tampa Bay

The Lightning franchise icon can become a free-agent this summer.

Michael W.

He's going to the the biggest fish available in the open waters of free agency this summer, and will no doubt have his share of potential suitors should a deal not get worked out with his current club. Steven Stamkos, the longtime captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, can hit the open market on July 1. 

As you may remember, Stamkos made no secret about the fact earlier in the season that contract negotiations were not proceeding at a rate that he wanted, leading many to wonder if his days with the only NHL team he's ever suited up for were numbered. 

But according to Lightning GM Julien BriseBois, re-signing Stamkos is going to be his top priority over the summer. 

"I am very hopeful," BrideBois said of the prospects of getting a new extension signed. 

“We want him part of that group,” BriseBois continued. “You all saw how from the trade deadline on, Stammer elevated his Hall of Fame plaque, has accomplished so much already, has been accomplishing so much for so long. For him to play arguably the best two months of hockey of his career — it started around the trade deadline — for him to do that at the time when our team needed it the most is incredible. We’re all able to see how he led on the ice, but it’s harder to see how he elevated his leadership game off the ice.

“Last summer, for various reasons, a lot of leadership left our team. And nobody in our group raised their leadership game more than Steven Stamkos did to fill that void. We have a saying in our organization: ‘We strive for excellence with humility.’ Steven Stamkos has always represented excellence with humility. Never more so than the last two months. And the aim is for him to continue to play on a contending Tampa Bay Lightning team moving forward.”

Stamkos has played his entire NHL career with Tampa Bay since they selected him with the 1st overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, and has captained them to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories. 

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Source: The Athletic