, When the bidding begins on Friday morning, the focus will be on where Stamkos decides to lace his skates.
The most likely outcome, according to the odds and the experts, is that Stamkos re-signs with Tampa Bay (-125), where the 26-year old has spent his career so far. The salary cap has put Tampa in a challenging position, so they aren’t able to make Stamkos a more competitive offer since they offered him an eight-year, $8.5-million-a-season deal in January of this year. Stamkos has 312 goals and 562 points in 569 regular-season games.
When recently asked if he would consider a sign-and-trade deal, Tampa’s GM Steve Yzerman said “”Never given it a thought so maybe I should think about it,” Yzerman said when asked about the sign-and-trade scenario at the entry draft last weekend. “It’s an interesting idea … well losing him for nothing or losing him for an asset? I’d love to get an asset for him.”
Whichever team manages to sign him will likely be responsible for one of the most lucrative contracts ever, with numbers most likely around $73-million to $85-million on a seven or eight-year deal.
Detroit (+175) Toronto (+300) and Buffalo (+900) are the other odds-favored teams to sign Stamkos, with Boston (+100) Montreal (+1200) and Vancouver (+1600) also hoping to lure the four-time, 40-goal-scorer to their rosters.
Stamkos isn’t the only star in the sky amongs the pending free agents available this year. He’s joined by David Backes, Kyle Okposo and Milan Lucic, to name a few, who are all causing a buzz as free agency approaches.