Lightning GM Julien BriseBois Hopeful To Keep Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning were eliminated in five games by their in-state rival, the Florida Panthers, in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, the talk coming out of the series is about whether Steven Stamkos played his last game with the Lightning.

Lightning's Stamkos misses game vs. Senators with lower-body injury

The cameras were focused on Stamkos during the handshake line as he waited for the final two players to go through the line before he walked off the ice last.

In the post-game media availability, even Jon Cooper was asked about Steven Stamkos’s status with the team moving forward and if he could imagine the captain wearing a jersey other than the Lightning colors.

Lightning ink coach Jon Cooper to three-year extension

“I don’t know if there will be much conversation. I hope not, anyway. He belongs here. We know it. He knows it,” Cooper said to the media following Game 5. “But, again, this is two seconds after a game. But he and I have grown up together. He’s a heck of a player. But he’s also, I suppose, in control of his own destiny. I don’t know what’s going to happen. He feels like a Bolt for life, but only he and Julien can answer that one.”

The Stamkos talk will not go away this offseason, either. It will be the talk of the offseason. It was when he hit free agency before ultimately re-signing with the Lightning. But the noise will not go away.

We know Stamkos’s feelings at the beginning of the season. He was unhappy that no contract extension had been discussed. Stamkos wants to stay in Tampa, and the team wants him.

Lightning General Manager Julien BriseBois addressed Steven Stamkos’s future on Wednesday’s media availability. BriseBois told the media he had preliminary discussions with Stamkos and his agent once they got off their flight back from Sunrise.

Julien BriseBois | Media Day 9.20.23

BriseBois stated he was ‘hopeful’ about keeping Stamkos with the Lightning, and he is a priority this offseason.

Chris Kreen of Tampa Bay Lightning: “Obviously, Steven Stamkos needs a contract, and we want him to be part of that group. The aim is for him to continue to play on a contending Tampa Bay Lightning team going forward.”

In the final year of his contract with the Lightning before becoming a free agent, Stamkos finished with 81 points (41 goals and 40 assists), including 16 goals in the final 17 games.

He also recorded six points in five playoff games, including leading the Lightning in scoring with five goals in the playoffs. Steven Stamkos can still produce.

The question will be, does he take a discount to stay? And what is his discount? Remember, Anze Kopitar went from $10 million AAV to $7.5 million to stay in Los Angeles, but you can make the point that Stamko’s discount is still $8.5 million.

The Lightning are up against the salary cap. They also have other decisions to make with other players. But all the focus will be on Steven Stamkos until a new deal is complete or he signs elsewhere.

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