Steve Stamkos signs 5 year deal with Lightning

Former Rocket Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos signed a five year, $37.5 million contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday that will count as a $7.5 million cap hit each season toward the salary cap.

“Steven is extremely important to this franchise and is part of the foundation of our hockey team,” general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement.  “We are very pleased to have him signed and look forward to seeing him in a Lightning uniform for years to come.”

Terms of the contract fluctuate yearly and are heavily stocked with bonuses. Stamkos will receive $4 million this upcoming season with a $4 million signing bonus. In 2012-13, Stamkos will receive $5 million with a $3 million bonus, $8 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15, and $5.5 million in the final year of the contract. All said and done, Stamkos could earn $8 million per season for the next four seasons, ranking him right there with some of the NHL’s elite talent, such as Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza – all of whom will make $8 million this upcoming season.

Stamkos exploded in his sophomore season in 2009-2010 when he scored 51 goals, tying Sidney Crosby as co-league leaders at the end of the season. Those 51 goals alone where five points more than Stamkos scored throughout his entire rookie season.  Stamkos followed up that performance with 45 goal and 91 points this past year, solidifying him as one of the games most prolific and dangerous goal scorers.

After signing Stamkos, the Lightning have 21 players under contract with $7.3 million available in cap space. Forward Teddy Purcell, a restricted free agent, will have his arbitration hearing today unless an agreement is reached before then. Purcell could command between $2 and $3 million a season after having a breakout season last year. After Purcell, the Lightning will likely focus their attention on another forward to round out their roster.  

This signing is a great move by Yzerman, who is set to begin his second full season as the team’s general manager. The number is cap friendly to give the Lightning some wiggle room but still gives Stamkos his due credit as one of the league’s elite goal scorers. The five-year term of the contract gives Yzerman a lot of time to build a winner, although only a handful of pieces may be needed after the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals this season after missing the playoffs the season before. As much as Vinny Lecavelier is the team’s franchise player, Stamkos is an essential part to the team’s success and Yzerman recognized the need to sign him. This contract is a win-win for both sides.

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