Stamkos to Keep Talents in Tampa Bay

There was never a Stamkospolozza Tour. There was never a parade of executives and representatives from NHL teams going in and out of his agent’s office. There was never a televised “Decision” like what we saw in the NBA six years ago. Before the free agent frenzy began, the biggest star to hit the open market decided to stay home before the opening bell rang.

Two days before NHL Free Agency opened up, Steven Stamkos decided to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a monster eight-year deal worth $68 million for an NHL salary-cap charge of $8.5 million through the 2023-24 season, according to TSN.

Tampa Bay retains Stamkos , who was their No. 1 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. His career accolades include 562 points (312 goals, 250 assists) in 569 games over the last eight seasons.

“We are very appreciative of the effort and commitment that Steven and his representatives have exhibited in getting a deal done,” general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “We are excited to have him as a cornerstone part of the team for the next eight years as we continue in the franchise’s ultimate pursuit of winning another Stanley Cup.”

The two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner would have been a huge acquisition should he decided to hit the open market. Several teams considered signing Stamkos include Detroit, Toronto, Buffalo, Vancouver and Boston.

One reason one could believe why he decided to stay is due to the Lightning’s playoff success the last couple seasons. They went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and this year they pushed Pittsburgh to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final without Stamkos. He returned May 26 for Game 7 when their season was on the line.

Unlike those teams, the Lightning have gone deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and this season got to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Stamkos returned for Game 7 of the conference final after having surgery on April 4 because of a blood clot near his right collarbone. This was the second major injury he has had in his career, with the other being a broken leg that kept him out of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

With Stamkos staying put, other teams are now scrambling to sign free agents beginning Friday who don’t bring the star power and goals that Stamkos brings to the table.

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