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Lightning captain Stamkos opens camp ‘disappointed’ about lack of contract talks

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he is disappointed about the lack of discussions with the team about a new contract.

Stamkos’s current eight-year, $68-million US deal ends after the upcoming season, and he said there have not been any conversations about an extension.

“To be honest, I’m disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard,” the Markham, Ont., native said Wednesday as Lightning players reported for the start of training camp. “It was something that I expressed at the end of last year that I wanted to get something done before training camp started.”

Tampa Bay, which won the Stanley Cup back to back in 2020 and ’21 and lost in the final in ’22, has dealt with salary cap issues for a few years. The Lightning lost in the first round last season to Toronto.

General manager Julien BriseBois said it would be great if Stamkos could spend his entire career with the team but indicated there won’t be any talks until after the season.

“Steven and I share a common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa — that’s our objective,” BriseBois said. “In order for us to do that in future years, we’re going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible. In order for me to do that, I feel like I need to gather more information.”

The Lightning this past of-season signed forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year, $52-million contract extension that kicks in for the 2024-25 season.

WATCH | Stamkos scores 500th NHL goal in hat trick performance:

Stamkos hat trick caps historic night in Vancouver

8 months ago

Duration 3:08

Steven Stamkos hat trick included his 500th career goal, as the Tampa Bay captain led the Lightning to a 5-1 win over Vancouver.

Much of the team’s core, from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak to forwards Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, have been signed long term, and Victor Hedman could be in line for a new deal next summer.

BriseBois said in regard to Stamkos he needs to see how the season plays out.

“I need to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit this year,” BriseBois. “After the season, once I’ve gathered that information, I can work with Steven and his agent on a contract structure that would be in the best interest of both sides.”

Stamkos, who turns 34 in February, reiterated his desire to finish his career with Tampa Bay, which took him first overall in the 2008 draft.

“I guess that was something that I didn’t see coming,” Stamkos said. “It is what it is. I would love to extend and play here and finish out my career here, but that’s out of my hands. I can’t write a contract for myself.”

Stamkos reached the milestones of 1,000 games played (1,003) and 500 goals (515) last season, when he had 34 goals and 85 points in 81 regular-season contests.

“I think it would be great for the organization if Steven could spend his entire career with the Lightning.” BriseBois said, “That’s in everyone’s best interest. Everyone knows what Steven means to our organization and his contributions to our team’s success goes beyond his performance on the ice.”

WATCH | Stamkos receives golden stick from Lightning for 1,000th NHL point:

Lightning honour Steven Stamkos’s 1,000 NHL points with a golden stick

10 months ago

Duration 0:54

Steven Stamkos of Markham, Ont. had his family in attendance for a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th career NHL point.

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