Forward Steven Stamkos has signed a new contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The deal is for eight-years, with an $8.5 million AAV.
Cancel the Stamkos Sweepstakes, he has decided to return to the Tampa Bay Lightning. #TSN
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2016
Steven Stamkos Signs with
Stamkos’s pending free agency had been a growing storyline all season, as rumours of bad blood between he and Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper spread all over the hockey world. When he was forced to sit out Tampa’s playoff run with a blood clot, questions were raised about whether the team – who advanced to the [Eastern Conference final] without their captain Stamkos – needed him enough to shell out for the expensive, long-term deal he has commanded.
The 26-year-old native of Markham, Ontario led the Lightning in goals with 36, and also recorded 28 assists in the 2015-16 campaign. He also led all forwards on the team in ice time, with an average of 19:45 played per game. Soon entering his ninth NHL season, Stamkos has 312 career goals, for a total of 562 points in his time with Tampa.
Stamkos was drafted first overall by Tampa Bay in the 2008 draft, entering straight into the NHL at 18 years old after a strong OHL career with the Sarnia Sting. He had been drafted first overall in the OHL Priority Selection by Sarnia just two years prior, taken from the Markham Waxers in the 2006 draft.
Internationally, Stamkos has also had some success for Canada. He was one of two 17-year-olds on the 2008 World Junior Championship team that won the gold medal in Pardubice, Czech Republic. He also represented Canada at the 2009 World Championships, winning a silver medal. Stamkos was initally selected to the Canadian team for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but was forced to withdraw with a broken leg.
This deal with the Lightning will be just Stamkos’s third in the NHL. His previous deal with the Bolts was a five-year, $37.5 million contract, signed back in 2011. A slightly front-loaded deal, he earned $8 million in the first four seasons, and $5.5 million in the last, for an AAV of $7.5 million. Stamkos also had a full no-movement clause in the final year of his contract.
Stamkos is a two-time NHL All Star, has won the Rocket Richard Trophy twice (in 2010 and 2012), and appeared in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which Tampa Bay lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. He has finished in the top five in NHL scoring four times in his career, and as one of the league’s elite goal scorers has been in the top ten for goals six times.
The Lightning will hope Stamkos remains healthy for this long-term contract, and as the marquis free agent signing of 2016 a lot of pressure will be placed on him. As one of the top players in the NHL, fans will be counting on him to lead the Lightning for years.