After heavy rumors, Tampa Bay Lightning GM, Steve Yzerman released a statement declaring their intention to keep captain Steven Stamkos in Florida. Stamkos is at the end of a five-year $37.5 million dollar contract and with the NHL trade deadline fast-approaching on Feb 29, there were already talks of trading the forward.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have expressed interest in Stamkos for quite awhile and it appeared they had cleared room for the center after trading their captain, Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators in part of a 9-player deal earlier this month. However, Yzerman debunked all of these rumors in a statement to the press earlier today.
“As February 29th approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL’s Trade Deadline,” Yzerman said per the NHL website. “I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs.”
Yzerman further said that all negotiations will be kept tightly under wraps until a decision with Stamkos is made.
Stamkos was drafted first overall in 2008 to the Lightning and has 22 goals and 42 points this season.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports