Steven Stamkos takes final shot at the Lightning

Steven Stamkos takes final shot at the Lightning

Following insulting offers and move to Nashville on Free Agency opening day.

Chris Gosselin

The Tampa Bay Lightning let go of their captain on Monday, almost without looking back. Moments later, Steven Stamkos was joining the Nashville Predators in free agency as his former club inked Jake Guentzel to a monster deal after acquiring him via trade, and followed it up by signing defenseman Victor Hedman to an extension. That deal is identical to the contract Stamkos signed with the Preds…Many fans see this as a brutal insult to the former Bolts’ captain.

When asked about his departure from Tampa and the events that led to his hitting free agency, Stamkos could barely explained it on the phone to Sportsnet’s Hockey Central, but offered a hidden shot at the Lightning and its management.

“To be complete honest I’ve found myself asking the same question and the more people I talk to everyone seems to share that same sentiment, which is puzzling and strange,” Stamkos said. “At the end of the day there was no question I was willing to put all that stuff aside to remain a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning .”

When he was reached by Chris Johnston for the Athletic, Stamkos let out a line that appears to say it all.

That’s the toughest part, is trying to hang on to something that maybe isn’t trying to hang on to you,” he lamented.

The Predators are getting a tremendously talented player and leader. Despite his age, Stamkos is coming off a 40-goal, 81-point season and has won two Stanley Cups as the heart and soul of the Lightning. GM Barry Trotz is hoping he can do the same in Nashville.