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Stamkos says Lightning can contend for Stanley Cup

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos looks at the new Tampa Bay Lightning roster and believes they have a legitimate chance to contend for the Stanley Cup.

"We have a good thing going down in Tampa," Stamkos told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "We have a great owner, we've got a great GM in Steve Yzerman, and we've got a good young team. I want to win, and hopefully I can do it in Tampa."

Stamkos said the additions of free-agent center Brian Boyle and defenseman Anton Stralman, and the re-signing of forward Ryan Callahan improved the Lightning, who were swept in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Montreal Canadiens last season.

"We didn’t have the finish we wanted to last year, but with the new faces coming in, the expectations are probably set a little higher," he said.

Stamkos, 24, will begin his first full season as captain after being limited to 37 games and 25 goals in 2013-14 because of a broken leg.

After forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each signed an eight-year, $84 million contract to stay with the Chicago Blackhawks, Stamkos has often been mentioned as next in line for a similar big deal. He has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $37.5 million contract he signed in 2011.

"The business part of the game, it's growing," Stamkos said. "Obviously the game's in good shape, and when that happens the [salary cap is] going to grow and players are going to get paid more money. Those guys deserve it; they're great players in this League, they've won championships.

"That's the goal for me is to win a championship. You let your play take care of itself on the ice and when it's time to re-sign or sign a contract, you back it up with your play."

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