Stamkos maintains he wants to stay with Lightning

Friday, 01.29.2016 / 3:23 PM
Dan Rosen and Shawn Roarke  - Staff Writers

NASHVILLE -- Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos reiterated his desire to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning again Friday, this time during his appearance at media day for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena.

With contract negotiations continuing and reports of offers playing out in the media during the past few weeks, Stamkos was emphatic with his allegiance to the only NHL club he has known.

"I love it [in Tampa]," he said. "I've said this all along and I said it before the season started, I always envisioned winning a championship in Tampa. Obviously some of this stuff with the contract, that's going to play out and whatever happens, happens. I'm the captain of this team and I have said from Day 1, I am the captain of this team and I want to win in Tampa. I love it in Tampa. We got a great organization, a great owner, a great young team that can be competitive for a long time, and I want to be a part of that for sure."

According to the most recent reports, the Lightning have offered Stamkos an eight-year contract worth $68 million. Stamkos, 25, is in the final season of a five-year, $37.5 million contract with a salary-cap charge of $7.5 million, according to He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Stamkos said he has been involved in the negotiations because, "it's your career, it's your career, and I don't think I'd put myself in a situation where I wouldn't know what's going on.' However, he said he has tried his best to not let the negotiations impact him.

"You're human, but you try not to think about it and let it affect you," he said. "The rink is kind of like the safe zone. The guys understand. Most guys have been through this before. I think as a team, we have had some distractions in the past few years."

Stamkos also understands the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline is looming, exactly one month away (3 p.m. ET on Feb. 29). It's possible the Lightning eventually conclude that trading him is in their best interest, but Stamkos has a no-trade clause so he maintains control of the process.

"I'm sure as the date approaches it's going to intensify with questions and stuff like that, but if you're sitting here asking me am I worried about that, no, I'm not worried about that," Stamkos said. "If you're sitting here asking do you think something is going to happen before that, I don't have an answer to that. Something could happen tomorrow, something could happen at the end of the season. The lines of communication have always been open and I don't see that changing any time soon."

The top pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Stamkos leads the Lightning with 21 goals and is second with 38 points this season. He has 296 goals and 535 points in 540 NHL games, including a career-high 60 goals in 2011-12. Stamkos had 43 goals last season and helped the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Final. He has 15 goals in 48 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.

He remains committed to letting the process play out and insists he is in regular contact with his representation about the progress that is being made toward a potential new contract.

"There's really no timeline or date that you put on it," he said. "Obviously, it's gone on this long, so you never know what to expect. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, I would have the same answer. It's been a process. Sometimes when you get in a situation like this, it happens overnight, sometimes it talks a while. There's been examples of both.

"Along this process, I have learned that it does take time. Things like this are a serious matter, and like I have said before the lines of communication are open and they will stay that way."

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