According to Bob McKenzie, Steven Stamkos has decided to stay in Tampa Bay and re-sign with his current club. McKenzie reports that the deal is an eight-year contract, with an average annual value (and thus cap-hit) of $8.5MM.
After all the speculation about whether or not Stamkos would return to his hometown (kind of) in Toronto, or perhaps take big money to go to Detroit and replace Pavel Datsyuk it ends up being a little anti-climactic for the 26-year old superstar.
During a time in which Edmonton and Montreal were shipping their own stars out of town, the Lightning have managed to hang on to theirs. If the team had waited until Friday, they would no longer have been able to offer the eighth year, a clear advantage over the rest of the league.
For Stamkos, he may have left some money on the table to go back to the only club he’s ever played for, but he’ll still be earning a hefty salary for almost a decade. $8.5MM puts him into the top-10 in the league right between Corey Perry and Claude Giroux. His age, production and ability to play center ice probably would have gotten upwards of $9MM on the open market, but the Lightning must have made a pretty convincing case that they were still building towards a championship; their back-to-back deep playoff runs might have something to do with it.
The deal will also include a full no-movement clause, according to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, giving Stamkos the stability he needs to build a life in Tampa Bay and with the Lightning for the next eight years.
We had Stamkos as the #1 UFA available for this offseason, and predicted he would stay with the Lightning for an eight-year, $72MM deal. We were just $4MM off, as his deal will come in at $68MM.