Lightning captain Stamkos opens camp ‘disappointed’ about lack of contract talks | CBC Sports


Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he is disappointed about the lack of discussions with the team about a new contract.

Stamkos’s current eight-year, $68-million US deal ends after the upcoming season, and he said there have not been any conversations about an extension.

“To be honest, I’m disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard,” the Markham, Ont., native said Wednesday as Lightning players reported for the start of training camp. “It was something that I expressed at the end of last year that I wanted to get something done before training camp started.”

Tampa Bay, which won the Stanley Cup back to back in 2020 and ’21 and lost in the final in ’22, has dealt with salary cap issues for a few years. The Lightning lost in the first round last season to Toronto.

General manager Julien BriseBois said it would be great if Stamkos could spend his entire career with the team but indicated there won’t be any talks until after the season.

“Steven and I share a common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa — that’s our objective,” BriseBois said. “In order for us to do that in future years, we’re going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible. In order for me to do that, I feel like I need to gather more information.”

The Lightning this past of-season signed forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year, $52-million contract extension that kicks in for the 2024-25 season.

WATCH | Stamkos scores 500th NHL goal in hat trick performance:

Stamkos hat trick caps historic night in Vancouver

Steven Stamkos hat trick included his 500th career goal, as the Tampa Bay captain led the Lightning to a 5-1 win over Vancouver.

Much of the team’s core, from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak to forwards Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, have been signed long term, and Victor Hedman could be in line for a new deal next summer.

BriseBois said in regard to Stamkos he needs to see how the season plays out.

“I need to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit this year,” BriseBois. “After the season, once I’ve gathered that information, I can work with Steven and his agent on a contract structure that would be in the best interest of both sides.”

Stamkos, who turns 34 in February, reiterated his desire to finish his career with Tampa Bay, which took him first overall in the 2008 draft.

“I guess that was something that I didn’t see coming,” Stamkos said. “It is what it is. I would love to extend and play here and finish out my career here, but that’s out of my hands. I can’t write a contract for myself.”

Stamkos reached the milestones of 1,000 games played (1,003) and 500 goals (515) last season, when he had 34 goals and 85 points in 81 regular-season contests.

“I think it would be great for the organization if Steven could spend his entire career with the Lightning.” BriseBois said, “That’s in everyone’s best interest. Everyone knows what Steven means to our organization and his contributions to our team’s success goes beyond his performance on the ice.”

WATCH | Stamkos receives golden stick from Lightning for 1,000th NHL point:

Lightning honour Steven Stamkos’s 1,000 NHL points with a golden stick

Steven Stamkos of Markham, Ont. had his family in attendance for a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th career NHL point.

Big questions in Calgary, Carolina Columbus

Exactly 100 days after the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup for the first time, training camps open around the NHL on Thursday.

The Golden Knights bring back nearly the same roster in their bid to repeat while the Panthers are still licking their wounds after injuries piled up during their run to the final. Colorado, now more than a year removed from hoisting the Cup and missing captain Gabriel Landeskog for another season, goes into camp as favourite to win it all again.

The biggest questions are in places like Columbus, Anaheim, Carolina and Calgary: How the Blue Jackets will handle a last-minute coaching change, what will happen with unsigned Ducks star Trevor Zegras, and whether the Hurricanes and Flames are among the teams with a trade or two left to make in the coming weeks and months.

The hot topics on and off the ice before the puck drops on the 2023-24 NHL season Oct. 10:

Is Vegas ready to repeat?

Fresh off helping lead Vegas to the Cup, Jack Eichel asked buddies who previously played long into June how they recovered for the following season.

“The message they relayed is, ‘You’ll be surprised by how good you feel come training camp, with having trained a little less and maybe spent a little less time in the gym,”‘ Eichel said. “Maybe more so now than past summers, it’s about trying to get your body healthy and feeling good going into camp.”

The Golden Knights should be feeling good about their continuity after keeping pending free-agent goalie Adin Hill and forward Ivan Barbashev and losing only Reilly Smith by trade from the group that played the bulk of the playoffs.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Avalanche are the betting favourites at just under 9-1, followed by the Hurricanes. at just under 10-1. The Golden Knights are sixth at 13-1.

NHL goalie hoists Stanley Cup at team celebration.
Goalie Adin Hill, right, was instrumental in the Golden Knights’ Stanley Cup championship win in June. Vegas defeated Florida four games to one. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

How banged up are the Panthers?

Matthew Tkachuk broke his sternum during the final, an injury he played through before missing Game 5. It took longer to rehab than expected, but the finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP and Panthers playoff leading scorer appears good to go.

“Feeling really good now,” Tkachuk said. “Look at glass half full: I didn’t miss 30 games or 20 games during the regular season. I had the summer to get it back and hopefully have a great start.”

The rest of his team isn’t so lucky. Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour had shoulder surgery and each defenseman could be out until mid-December.

What now for Babcock-less Blue Jackets?

Nothing like a forced resignation of a polarizing, Stanley Cup-winning coach to shake things up for the Blue Jackets. Mike Babcock stepped down Sunday after asking to view photos on players’ phones as part of a bonding effort led to an investigation by the NHLPA and Pascal Vincent being named his replacement.

It all happened over the past week or so, and ownership said there would be no changes to the front office led by president of hockey operations John Davidson and longtime general manager Jarmo Kekalainen at this time because “additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp.”

Vincent, who spent the past couple of seasons as an assistant under previous head coach Brad Larsen, has a two-year contract and perhaps more respect from players.

“The advantage that I have is I know those people,” Vincent said. “I’ve been with them for two years, and I know they care. They really care about the team.”

NHL head coach smiles while addressing reporters at news conference.
The Blue Jackets promoted Pascal Vincent to head coach on Sunday after Mike Babcock stepped down. (Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via Associated Press)

Who is not in camp?

Zegras, Ducks teammate Jamie Drysdale and Ottawa’s Shane Pinto are among the restricted free agents without a contract for the upcoming season. Any of them could sign any time.

Devils centre Jack Hughes, asked last week about Zegras, advocated for the best for his close friend and former U.S. teammate.

“I think he’s a great player — the best player on their team,” Hughes said. “He’s good for the league. He needs to be back, and hopefully he gets a deal done soon.”

On the injury front outside the Panthers, Washington free agent signing Max Pacioretty is among those not expected to be ready for the start of the season as he recovers from re-tearing his right Achilles tendon. Former Carolina teammate Andrei Svechnikov might be limited six months since tearing the ACL in his right knee.

On the move?

After a decidedly quiet summer of trades outside of Pittsburgh getting three-time Norris Trophy-winning defenceman Erik Karlsson, there could still be some shuffling before opening night.

Calgary has a decision to make with potential 2024 free agent Elias Lindholm, who’s considered among the best two-way centres in the league. Same goes with the Hurricanes, given their logjam on the blue line and Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei each with one year left on his contract.

In-your-face Marchand ready for captaincy

The Boston Bruins named Brad Marchand captain, putting the “C” that had been worn by the soft-spoken and universally revered Patrice Bergeron on the sweater of a former face-licking instigator who has matured into one of the most respected voices in the Original Six franchise’s dressing room.

“It almost felt surreal to see the jersey,” Marchand said. “The guys you see wearing the ‘C’ are the best to ever play the game. For it to be mine, to put it on, it was a different feeling.”

The Bruins made the announcement before the opening of training camp as they try to build on the 2022-23 regular season that was the best in NHL history, and forget about what happened in the playoffs, when they were eliminated in the first round.

Entering his 15th season, Marchand is the longest-tenured member of the roster and the last player who has remained with the club since its 2011 Stanley Cup title.

“He’s ours, and we’re happy we have him,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said. “We love what we have, and so do our fans.”

Marchand follows in a line of Bruins captains that runs from Hall of Famers Sprague Cleghorn to Dit Clapper to Milt Schmidt to Johnny Bucyk and Ray Bourque. More recently, Marchand has played under the leadership of Zdeno Chara and Bergeron, riding with them to one NHL championship and two other trips to the Stanley Cup final.

Ekholm to miss start of Oilers camp

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm is dealing with a hip flexor injury that will keep him off the ice as training camp begins.

Oilers general manager Ken Holland did not provide a timetable for Ekholm’s return.

The Oilers acquired Ekholm in February from Nashville, the only team he had played for until the trade.

Ekholm, 33, posted 14 points for the Oilers in 21 games. Overall, he posted nine goals and 32 points last season.

Ekholm has 66 goals, 282 points and a plus-132 rating in 740 NHL regular-season contests.

The Oilers open the pre-season on Sunday against Winnipeg.


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