Lightning GM BriseBois sends message to Steven Stamkos on live TV

Lightning GM BriseBois sends message to Steven Stamkos on live TV

How will it impact negotiations?

Chris Gosselin

Ever since the Lightning has been eliminated from the postseason, everyone has wondered if captain Steven Stamkos has played his last game for Tampa Bay.

At the start of the 2023-24 season, GM Julien BriseBois had pointed out how he would not negotiate a contract with Stamkos during the campaign, which had frustrated the captain.

Stamkos has just played out the final season of his eight-year contract, which carries an annual cap hit of $8.5 million as well as a full no-movement clause. He has spent his entire career in a Lightning’s uniform, but he wants to return, it sounds like sacrifices will have to be made. On the air of JiC on TVA Sports, BriseBois appeared to send a message to Stamkos as he pointed to the team already committed to more than $75 million to 2024-25’s salary cap and that current players have taken a discount to help navigate the tight budget.

“They all have contracts that should, technically, give us a little more room to maneuver around them,” the GM explained about the core players. “I hope we can reach an agreement with Steven in this vein, in order to retain his services, because he is obviously a great player.

He went on to add about the cap situation in Tampa:

“Is it going to be easy given the circumstances? I never expected it would be. The salary cap being what it is, it creates challenges. We have a lot of good players under contract, contracts which, I continue to believe, will bring a lot of value over the course of the following years.”

At age 34, Stamkos remains a highly effective player, having just completed his seventh-career 40 goal season. And while he would probably love to retire as a member of the Bolts, he was visibly hurt by the way he was treated by his own team this season. Since there is no extension currently on the table, he can become eligible to test the open market once the calendar flips to July. After the Lightning was eliminated by the Florida Panthers in the first round, Stamkos was quite honest about his contract situation in Tampa.

“Obviously, certain things have changed now,” he explained when discussing a potential new deal. “I have an amazing young family that has put roots down in this city and I really enjoy living here and playing here. From that perspective, the decision is more than just me now.”

“There’s different factors than there were last time (I was at the end of my contract), but nothing’s really changed in terms of my mindset and where I wanted to be and play and that was here. That certainly hasn’t changed.”

Both BriseBois and head coach Jon Cooper have stated that they’d like to see Stamkos remain with the franchise for the rest of his career, however, the GM did make it clear on TV that Stamkos will also need to sign at a discount.

Will Stammer do so as he is well-aware he could cash in big on the free market? Stay tuned.

Source: TVA Sports