Julien BriseBois heard the comments from Steven Stamkos about his contract issues with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and to put it frankly, he doesn’t really care. While the Lightning GM isn’t insensitive to how Stamkos might be feeling heading into his final season under contract and no extension in hand, BriseBois has no intention to put Stamkos at ease or hurry up and get a deal done, simply because Stamkos wanted it done before camp.
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The GM was asked about the comments Stamkos made this week, the media and fans sensing the frustration oozing from the veteran because the Lightning haven’t engaged in talks about a new deal. His response was that he’d love for Stamkos to finish his career in Tampa, but business is business and other things need to take priority.
BriseBois said, “Steven has mentioned publicly and to me that he wants to spend his entire career with the Lightning. I think it would be great for our organization if Steven could spend his entire career with the Lightning. That’s in everyone’s best interest.” However, he also noted, “At the same time, it’s not just about Steven playing out his career in Tampa. It’s about Steven staying in Tampa and the Lightning remaining a legitimate Stanley Cup contender year in and year out for the remainder of his tenure as a player on the club.” Saying that they share the common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa, doing so is BriseBois’ primary objective. “In order for us to do that in future years, we’re going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible.”
He went on to say that he needs to see how this season shapes out before he can make any sort of offer to Stamkos. He needs to see who steps up, and can fill certain roles, and how the puzzle pieces fit together. “After the season, once I make those decisions, I can work with Steven and his agent on a contract structure that works for both sides.”
In other words, Stamkos will have to wait and if that’s a problem… then it’s his problem. This probably won’t make Stamkos feel any better about his situation and it certainly doesn’t solve his concerns. Time will tell if he’s willing to wait and see how the season plays out or if he changes his mind about finishing his career in Tampa, knowing that other things need to come before him.
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