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Stamkos will be pursued by Red Wings, Holland says

Detroit GM would 'absolutely' have interest in pending unrestricted free agent @NHLdotcom

If Steven Stamkos enters free agency, the Detroit Red Wings are one of the teams that will pursue the Tampa Bay Lightning center.

"Would we have interest in Steven Stamkos? Absolutely," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told TSN 1050 in Toronto on Wednesday.

Stamkos can become an unrestricted free agent Friday but teams have been able to talk to pending unrestricted free agents since June 25.

"Part of this process that goes through this week is to reach out to players from a club standpoint, from our standpoint, and tell them about our program and then as the week wears on, the player has to decide which program, cities, teams are of interest to him to further explore, and on July 1 make a decision. … Stamkos and his representatives are going through a process to decide exactly what they want to do, if they want to go back to Tampa or if they want to explore other teams."

The Red Wings opened salary-cap space last week when they traded the contract of forward Pavel Datsyuk, who announced earlier this month that was going to play in the Kontinental Hockey League next season, to the Arizona Coyotes. Datsyuk has a $7.5 million salary-cap charge for 2016-17.

Video: FLA@TBL: Stamkos puts a rebound top-shelf for a PPG

"We've got lot of cap space," Holland said. "Some of that cap space is set aside to re-sign [goaltender] Petr Mrazek, some of that is set aside to re-sign [defenseman Danny] DeKeyser. But we're going to have some cap space. We're hoping by July 1 we're able to add a player or two to our team that we think is going to make us better."

Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray and Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning also have said they have interest in signing Stamkos.

Stamkos, 26, had 36 goals and 64 points in 77 games this season. He missed all but one game of the Lightning's run to the Eastern Conference Final after having surgery to remove a blood clot near his right collarbone on April 4. 

Since entering the League in 2008-09, Stamkos' 312 goals are second to Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (362).

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