“The trade deadline is coming up in a couple weeks, I’m sure everyone will have some answers in a couple weeks when that comes,” Steven Stamkos said Thursday. “We’ve kept everything to ourselves and I know it (stinks) for you guys (media), I totally understand. But I think you can appreciate the way we’ve conducted doing business and whatever happens in the next couple weeks, there’s obviously going to be some answers.”
So instead of ending all the rumors and speculation leading up to the February 29 trade deadline, Steven Stamkos has decided to take it to the limit. If he really has decided to stay, wouldn’t he just say it now instead of waiting 18 days?
It certainly seems that Stamkos will be here fir the remainder of the season. After all, with a full no movement ticket in his pocket he controls the situation. As far as we know, Stamkos hasn’t been asked to waive his no movement clause. Would he waive it if asked?
According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Stamkos stated:
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Stamkos said. “I think the answer is, ‘We’ll cross that bridge at the time, and I don’t think it’s that time now. So I continue to come to the rink everyday as the leader that I am and the teammate that everyone in this room knows that I am, and give my best effort. I’ve said that since day one of training camp and that hasn’t changed.”
It seems Stamkos is distracted by the process. In the last three months the Lightning captain has suffered through two extended slumps. He has just one goal in his last 11 games and the top line has no goals in the last two consecutive losses. He has just one goal in the last month and this has gone almost unnoticed because the Bolts had won 11 of 12 games. Stamkos is on pace for a mere 32 goals, which would be his lowest total in a non-injury or non-lockout season.
All of the the contract talk has to be grinding on him:
“I’m sure it does, he’s a goal scorer,” Coach Jon Cooper said. “This has happened to him before and Stammer can get streaky. He’s struggling to put the puck in the net now, but look at his 10 games prior to that, he was filling the net. We haven’t really needed his goals because other guys have been scoring, but when we struggle scoring in 48 hours, that’s magnified a little bit.”
Cooper has tried to give him the opportunity to help the team in other ways like playing him on the penalty kill. Yes, the teams star. highest paid player and highest scorer relegated to the penalty kill. What a waste of salary. Oh…and Cooper is sill playing him on the wing instead of his natural position of center, which Stamkos openly prefers.
Stamkos’ agent Don Meehan telephoned Prime Time Sports in Toronto on Wednesday to discuss where his client stands with the Lightning. He confirmed that negotiations with GM Steve Yzerman are continuing but nothing is forthcoming at this point. Meehan, as always remained ambiguous:
“They’re productive. All of our discussions have been productive, they’ve been professional,” Meehan said. ”Tampa understands and appreciates the fact that Steven has every right and ability to take as much time as necessary to make a decision in relation to his future. That’s really what we’re engaged in at this point in time.”
Meehan was asked by hosts Bob McCown and John Shannon if Stamkos wants to stay with the Lightning:
“I really don’t think it would be fair for me to convey what he’s telling me. I can tell you this: He’s a very thoughtful, very resourceful individual. He’s diligent. He’s doing what I believe every player should do in these circumstances when you’re engaged in the process of committing to a long-term contract, which would be the better part of his career.”
The scoring slump, the remaining mum on the contract situation and an obviously distracted Stamkos doesn’t bode well for the Lightning superstar staying with the Lightning.