Training camp has finally arrived, but there are still plenty of NHL rumours. We’re less than 20 days away from the start of the season, but we still have plenty to talk about. Teams are already thinking about the future and the 2024-25 season. Contracts are always going to be a lingering issue and they may cause some hurt feelings. Could the Tampa Bay Lightning have misplayed its hand when it comes to one of their superstars? We also talk about the Nashville Predators in this Southern fried edition of NHL rumours.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Diandra Loux of The Hockey News posted her interview with Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos for the start of training camp this week. Stamkos answered questions about how contract negotiations went, but gave a surprising answer.
More of Stamkos on extension talks.
“Like I stated at the end of last year, too. I would love to extend and play here and finish up my career here but that's out of my hands. I can't write a contract for myself.” #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/fiQseWseuH
— Diandra Loux (@Diandra_loux) September 20, 2023
Analysis: The Bolts’ captain is in the final year of a deal that sees him make $8.5 million per seasons. Stamkos said that there’s been a lack of talk between he and the team. He said that he’s disappointed between at where things stand in talks between the two sides. Stamkos said in the media availability that he would love to sign a new deal and finish up his career in Tampa Bay.
Tampa’s captain will turn 34 in early February and is likely closing in on the end of his career. He’s been a stalwart for the Lightning and has 515 career goals and two Stanley Cups to his name.
Stamkos said that he’s ready to talk whenever general manager Julien BriseBois is ready to negotiate. Reporters tried to poke around and ask if the Lightning’s cap crunch was a reason why the two sides haven’t talked as of yet. Stamkos was quick to deflect and say that the media would have to ask management. BriseBois quickly answered that he’s going to wait to see how the season plays out before making a contract offer.
What does the future hold for Stamkos? Who knows, but it would be odd to see him in another sweater other than a Tampa Bay one. However, the cap situation will dictate the future of Stamkos.
Analysis: General manager Barry Trotz was rumoured to have floated Askarov’s name when the most-recent NHL Draft was in Music City over the summer. However, a deal was not to be made. Trotz said that he would have loved to have added a dynamic centre. This usually means a top prospect has to go the other way in a trade. Askarov is one of the best goalie prospects in the league and could be the netminder of the future in Nashville.
The main man at the moment is Juuse Saros, who is the team’s starter. Saros has two years left on his contract and $5 million per season. Trotz said that he plans on reaching out to Saros’ agent to discuss the future. Saros can sign a contract extension on July 1, 2024 when he has one year left on his deal.
Saros has been a great goalie and kept the Predators in games they maybe had no business being in. However, the temptation to move him could be there to get Nashville a big-time player. Starting goalies are hard to come by and the Finn could fetch a hefty haul. Having a goalie like Askarov complicates matters even further. Could the Russian goalie’s time be sooner than people think?
Main photo by: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports