Sleeper NHL Teams for Steven Stamkos

The biggest prize in this years free agent market is without a doubt Steven Stamkos. The hockey world believes that Stamkos will either resign with the Tampa Bay Lightning or go home and play with the Toronto Maple Leafs, however there are a few sleeper teams in the running.

Sleeper NHL Teams for Steven Stamkos

Buffalo Sabres

While the Buffalo Sabres have been in a rebuild the last few years, they are now in a position to become a playoff team and then some. Buffalo has a strong core of Ryan O’Reilly, Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen. In addition Sabres General Manager Tim Murray has Buffalo in salary cap heaven. The Sabres only have $48.7 million committed so far towards next season. Adding Stamkos to the Sabres lineup could make them an Eastern Conference contender in the near future.

Detroit Red Wings

It’s been a while since Hockeytown has been a force in the NHL. What better way to jump start the Detroit Red Wings than to add Stamkos to their roster? He could join a core of Dylan Larkin, Tomas Jurco, Anthony Mantha, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Detroit already has $58.2 million committed towards next year’s cap and their biggest issues are on the blueline and in between the pipes.

Florida Panthers

On paper is there a better sleeper team for Stamkos than the Florida Panthers? Stamkos would not have to leave the state of Florida. He would join the young core of Alexander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Reilly Smith and Vincent Trocheck. Plus the Panthers have key veterans in Jaromir Jagr, Jussi Jokinen and Roberto Luongo. If the Panthers ownership group is financially capable of putting together a big offer for Stamkos, he could wind up in South Beach. Keep in mind there is no state income tax in the state of Florida.

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders slowly have been taking a step in their development each season  in recent years. This past season the Islanders ended the organization’s 23-year drought of not winning a playoff series. Now General Manager Garth Snow is trying to get this franchise to become a true contender in the east.

One of the items on New York’s checklist is to improve scoring and find a wing man for John Tavares. How about pairing Stamkos with Tavares? Both guys have known each other since they were on the same youth summer league team. A pairing of Tavares-Stamkos would be scary.

Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens were one of the worst teams in the NHL this past season after the first 20 games. The fans in Montreal are not used to such poor performances. Adding a superstar to their core of Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Carey Price and P.K. Subban would make the Bell Centre the place to be.

However, the Canadiens already have $64.1 million committed towards next season and will need to create some space to sign Stamkos. It would address their biggest issue though, which is goal scoring.

The favorites to sign Stamkos are still the Lightning and the Leafs. No doubt about it. But watch out for these sleeper teams, as Stamkos could easily wind up with one of them.

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