Latest on Stamkos, O’Reilly, Niemi & Ryan – July 24, 2014

Could Steven Stamkos bolt the Lightning for the Maple Leafs when his contract expires? Is Ryan O’Reilly a “sign and trade”? Will the Sharks trade Antti Niemi? Will Bobby Ryan re-sign with the Senators? Read on for the latest. 

Will Steven Stamkos bolt for Toronto in 2016?

Will Steven Stamkos bolt for Toronto in 2016?

TORONTO STAR: Stephen Whyno reports Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos is ignoring speculation he could leave the Lightning as a free agent when his contract expires in 2016 and sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  “We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away,” Stamkos said Wednesday. “Right now I’m focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we’ve really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.”

Stamkos added, ““For me, that’s the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we’re going to have that chance for a couple years.” He went on to sing the Lightning’s praises, pointing out they have a good thing going on in Tampa Bay. “We have a great owner, we got a great GM in Steve Yzerman and we got a good young team. I want to win, and hopefully I can do it in Tampa.”

SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox believes Stamkos, by saying “We’ll see what happens”, left the door open to possibly joining the Leafs as an unrestricted free agent in 2016. Fox suggests that gives Stamkos leverage when he negotiates with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe my THN.com colleague Adam Proteau had the best response to this: “Why would Steven Stamkos need to use the Leafs for leverage in any contract negotiations with the Lightning? Stamkos IS leverage.” After all, Stamkos is only the most talented pure sniper in the league right now, with two Richard trophies on his resume.

Since NBA star LeBron James decided to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, some Toronto pundits and fans are hoping Stamkos will follow suit and join the Maple Leafs. For me, the key statement from Stamkos wasn’t “We’ll see what happens”, but rather, “I want to win, and hopefully I can do it in Tampa”. See, if the Lightning were still being run by the OK Hockey circus, Stamkos would definitely leave Tampa Bay in 2016. But the Lightning are building a promising young team. If they’re in Cup contention by 2016, or very close to it, Stamkos will stay put, even if it costs over $10 million per season to keep him.

While Stamkos may be from Toronto and grew up cheering for the Leafs, he knows the pressure of being a Leaf, especially if the club continues to stumble along as it has since 2005-06.  Stamkos playing for the Leafs could happen one day, but my guess is it won’t happen until he’s in his mid-thirties, past his prime and the Lightning decide to go with younger talent. 

THE DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche executive VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic said his club’s re-signing Ryan O’Reilly was not a “sign-and-trade” deal. He adds the club’s goal is to eventually re-sign him to a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Dater notes and which I’ve also pointed out, the fact the two sides avoided arbitration by agreeing to a new two-year deal suggests relations between the O’Reilly camp and the Avalanche could be improving. If so, it increases the possibility of re-signing him in two years time before he becomes eligible for UFA status. For now, it’s apparent the Avs want to keep him, which is a good idea after losing Paul Stastny to free agency this summer. If they do trade him, my guess is it’ll happen at the 2016 trade deadline, and then only because his asking price is ridiculously high or he’s decided to test the market. 

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz, responding to a reader’s question about the San Jose Sharks possibly trading Antti Niemi, believes if they intended to do so they would’ve done it by now. He expects Niemi and Alex Stalock will be the Sharks’ tandem when the season begins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Sharks were shopping Niemi there’s just not much of a market for goalies this summer. That might change during training camp and preseason but for now there just isn’t any clubs out there actively shopping for a starting goaltender. 

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance suggests Bobby Ryan, who’s in the final year of his contract worth $5.1 million this season, could  be the next big name to leave the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators aren’t a cap ceiling team and continue to rebuild with young players. Their performance this season will be a crucial factor in how long Ryan stays. Given his UFA status next summer, he’ll likely seek around $7  million per season on a long-term deal, which he probably won’t get from the cost-conscious Senators. Ryan could also be the biggest name available in next summer’s UFA market, which will also improve his stock. Enjoy Ryan while you still can, Senators fans, because most likely this will be his last season in Ottawa. 

111 Comments

  1. If Stamkos were to hit the open market or becomes trade bait if talks break down, the list of teams drooling for his services will be never ending. This guy imo is the absolute best player in the NHL. There is NO two players on the Rangers roster I wouldn’t give up for a crack at this guy!

    • Stamkos is a Franchise player. He isn’t going anywhere. Tampa will give him everything he wants till his production slips late in his career. The Stamkos story is a pipe dream promoted by misty eyed Toronto fans/media who always dream of how good their team could be and hallucinate regularly over how good it actually is. Lebron James is an exception not the norm. The pressure that may be put on Stamkos to even think of returning to Toronto will be enough to push him away.

      • I agree 100%. I think people make too much out of a question he feels pressured to answer or not answer. He seems pretty happy where he is, So why change?

        • So did St.Louis until this year…. where did he go again? Oh ya close to where his home is outside of the tax free paradise. lol

          I’m not saying its going to happen but its 2 years down the road things can change, and Stamkos in his prime would make even a borderline playoff team that much better and that much closer of a contender.
          Doubt it happens, but never say never.

          • St. Louis is a little different. #1 he is at the end of his career. #2 He wanted out of Tampa because of the whole team Canada thing….Not before that. #3, Being of Canadian descent ,I dare say Connecticut isn’t home…. Miller was going to California, that didn’t happen,,, Callahan was going to Buffalo, that didn’t happen ,Lecavier again rumored to go home since he was drafted…..For every example of guys you can give me that went home, I’ll give you 50 that didn’t. I’m not saying Stamkos hates home and would never play there. I seriously doubt Tampa is going to let him sniff free agency at this time (2 years). There is no real gravity behind these rumors at this point. Other than pure speculation. Media hype and a guy here saying he asked where Stamkos’s Toronto Jersey was? LOL

          • All that being said….I have lived in both NYC and Florida…..and given the choice I’d choose NY over Tampa any day, taxes, weather aside. Better place, better food, better everything!

          • So you just kinda proved a point now didnt you….if money wasnt an issue and lets be honest at a max contract 100 million dollars plus endorsements even with state taxes, money is not much of an issue, you would consider moving home despite weather now wouldnt you? Yes there are other things to consider and maybe no not 100% you would leave but it would be a possibility no? Agsin I doubt it happens but stranger things have happened aswell.

    • I wouldn’t give up Lundqvist and possibly McDonagh, but you’re absolutely right.

      • I know this is Ranger fan blasphemy, But I’d gladly offer up Lundqvist as one of the players. 8.5 per for a goaltender is a cap killer imo. Mcd, Lundqvist combo would be tough to swallow, but I still think I pull that trigger. I see more of Tampa both televised and live than I do of the Rangers. This guy is a game changer!!!!

    • There’s absolutely no chances of Stamkos leaving paradise for Toronto.

  2. Once again, media based in Toronto has a player under contract to another team answer a question about potentially joining the Leafs in the future. It’s very similar to the Montreal media hounding Vincent Lecavalier over the years about joining the Canadiens.

    I would say that Stamkos is as interested in playing for Toronto as Lecavalier has been interested in playing for Montreal. After all, all other things being equal, who in their right mind would want to leave sunny Florida with lower tax responsibilities and a more normal life away from the rink?

    • Someone with Canadian pride??

      • Well said!
        I’m already drooling at the prospect of Stamkos in a Leafs Jersey. A first line of JVR-Stamkos-Kessel would probably be the best in the league

      • You don’t have to live in Canada to have Canadian pride. Either you have or not. Not like when Americans move here they lose their American pride.

    • I have no idea where the Leafs will be in two years, but I don’t see Stamkos wanting to play for them. They’re in rebuilding mode and, from what I’ve seen, they’re not entirely sure HOW they want to rebuild.

      My gut feeling is that the Bolts pay through the nose to retain him. If not, Stamkos is going to go to a Cup contender. I’d LOVE to see him play for the Rangers, obviously, but I’m also realistic enough to know that most likely ain’t gonna happen.

      • @DChamp thats a ridiculous comment. to say someone doean’t have “Canadian pride” because they don’t want to play for the leafs is like you actually believe you live in the center of the universe. Stamkos will want to play for a contending team, if the leafs actually become that in two years, Tampa falters AND he wants to play for them (he hasn’t gone on record saying he does) then he’ll become a leaf

      • How are the Leafs rebuilding? They have their stars all locked up for the forseeable future and they improved their team this offseason. How do you get rebuilding from that? Maybe they did a little retooling other then that nothing really.

        • I’m sorry. You lost me at “they have all their stars locked up for the foreseeable future”… What stars?

          • Wow man do you pay attention to hockey?

            What do you call a player that scored 37 goals and 80 points in 82 games? A star my friend

            Unlike teams like Buffalo and Ottawa the Leafs kept their best players. If they were rebuilding Kessel and Phaneuf would have never ben resigned.

            Seriously you got to think before you post.

          • I agree Jes, If you can’t see that Kessel is a star, there is no point even arguing. That just seems like some Hater-aid going on!

    • i just dont get all this hype over him saying we will see what happens.first off hes not going to say yes im leaving in two years.that hurts his negotiation and burns bridges in tampa.second hes under contract to a team for two years. and hes not gonna neglect fans in other cities by saying no.and why ask him this now.all this does is sell newspapers to toronto fans lol hoping they get a franchise player.

      • Perhaps before Stamkos retires he wants to play in a city where is treated like the star he is. Everyone he would go in TO or similar he would know it.

  3. Apparently the Senators are “negotiating” with Ryan and his agent on a new deal. If they don’t sign before the season starts the Sens should deal him right away rather than have that distraction hanging over the heads of a young team for the better part of 82 games. They’d probably get more in return now than they would at the trade deadline.

    • Sens probably offered him 9 million over 4 years. You know, based on Ottawa’s track record of keeping it cheap.

      • Sens will tie up Ryan. The team can’t afford to lose all its star players they rely on ticket sales to much. The team doesn’t have a huge corporate market to keep it afloat. I suspect they will find a trade to bring in another player rather than move Ryan. Ottawa defensive woes need to be addressed. If they can clean up their end of the ice I suspect this team will surprise many. Cowen is a big key to this. He needs to step up and show he is worth the contract he signed.

    • Link?

    • Ryan should be shopped now while the value is high.
      I don’t see him staying. I’m sure he’s missing his California weather.
      Boston needs a right wing and had interest in him before.
      Could see a package with Kelly returning and couple young guys like Bartkowski and Spooner.

      • Doubtful the Senators would trade with the B’s , for sure they don’t need Kelly back as they are solid down the middle , although he was appreciated in Ottawa when he played for the Sens. Spooner grew up 10 mins from the rink and would have a huge amount of local support but with Turris , Zibanijad , Smith , Legwand , Hoffman at center he would have a difficult time making the team. Bartkowski would be 6 or 7 on depth chart. I’d be tempted to say Philly as a dance partner but they need to get their cap straightened out ( a package including Simmonds would need to come the other way) . I am going to throw out a deal with SJ ( Couture or Pavelski can both play wing ) this would involve other parts going each way.

        • i dont see boston trading spooner as they have him slated as a center they want to bring up to the nhl this year.they would have better luck going after boychuk and mcquaid or kelly.boston is looking to move defence and not take salary back.they still have krug and smith to sign.

  4. Stamkos is too smart to play in Toronto.

    • That makes no sense. I know there are Leaf haters out there, but if you look at Leaf fans; they are some of the most dedicated in the sports world – if Stamkos is fuelled by the same fire that most Leaf fans are, he is gonna give it a long hard look.

      • Just for the sake of argument TAz, since the advent of the UFA name ONE major UFA of the calibre of Stamkos who has signed with the Leafs. You’d have to go all the way back to Belfour, and while he had some good years in goal in TO, they still never won anything of any significance. They may indeed have “some of the most dedicated (fans) in the sports world” if blind allegiance to a perennial screw-up organization is any criterion, but that doesn’t make them intelligent. It hasn’t been lost on UFAs how quickly those “dedicated fans” can turn on someone they first welcomed as the next savior through trade (e.g., Murphy, Phaneuf), nor have they been blind to the smothering media in TO where EVERY move they make is scrutinized and analyzed to death by radio and TV panels and in newspapers. Perhaps some thick-skinned types can put up with that, but how many do you think want to put their families through that? Perry made it plain when he admitted he’s much happier in California where he can play a game, answer a few post-game questions posed by maybe 3 journalists, then grab a book and go to the beach and kick back and not be bothered by dozens of fans clamoring for autographs/photos. Josh Gorges also made it plain when he flat out said he “hated Toronto” after vetoing a trade there. Mason Raymond, who scored a bundle of goals for them as a bargain-basement addition, couldn’t sign elsewhere as a UFA fast enough. It isn’t a nice situation to be in for a fan – but it is reality.

    • yes of course only dumb players play in Toronto.

  5. They can say what they want- but reality is he will leave. Numerous reasons, and I know its hard for others to accept bc its the Leafs. As a hockey player- you want to win, yes, asbolutely but you also want glory and the challenge. Who do you think is more revered Dave Andreychuk (captain of the Lightning cup winners) or Doug Gilmour captain of a conference finalist, the answer is the latter. These guys grew up here and want to win HERE. The allure is great. Tampa, The Islanders, Florida, Dallas, etc -all hockey obscurity…you bring a cup to Toronto, New York Rangers or Montreal – you will imnortalized. As much as they say they like the ability to walk around unknown- they dont like it when there career is over. Just my two cents, but this is a new age, you are always looking for more. Within 2 years Leafs will be better under Shanahan and under Babcock.
    Biggest thing though..”we’ll see” …there were other answers to a question you knew would come your way..

    • you know the main reason Shanahan left Detroit was to get away from Babcock right? I doubt that Babcock goes there given Shanny is the leader and makes those decisions.

      • Shanahan left Detroit as a veteran player not as a President (Defacto GM).

      • my point was that the Leafs will be improved and that, along with money, and ability to be in the greatest market – will be enough to bring him back. The reason players havent returned is because they werent good- not because they dont want too play in Toronto- if the team is up and coming they would all come here- provided money is equal

        • Money will not even be close to equal. Tax free state of Florida. Cost of living is low. Tampa is building something pretty good at the moment. I think Tampa has a good shot at winning the East this year and for a few years beyond. Also, Tampa has a little more support today than it did in 1998, It isn’t exactly the same market as the Panthers. Not sure Stamkos will be willing to bolt (no pun intended) anywhere in 2 years from now. Not only was management able to keep St. Louis locked up almost his entire career, they did so under market value.

          • Being a millionaire and living in Florida. Being a Millionair and living in Toronto. This is not about Canadian pride but rather personal luxury. There is a reason the Californian teams are able to attract star talent. Hockey is life for these guys, but there is life outside of hockey and quite frankly life in Florida is simply to good to pass up.

          • Until he had enough snd wanted to play closer to his home, and his home is not in the sunny south tax free paradise. Again its 2 years away things can change. I doubt it happens but people saying it will never happen are jumping to conclusions just as bad as some Leaf fans.

      • Buffbry – Do you have any evidence of this or are you making stuff up right now? Please provide an actual link to your claims.

        • http://www.ndnation.com/boards/showpost.php?b=yahoobb;pid=137842;d=all

          This one doesn’t show it all the way from kypreos’s point of view. But being a wings fan I’ve read it a few times over the past 10 years in the detroit free press and i forget where else that Shanny doesn’t like Babcock and vice versa. But i didn’t make the rumor up i promise

        • i tried to post a link but it didn’t get approved.

          google it, Nick Kypreos is the last person to report about it, but i’ve been reading it for a few years in the Detroit newspaper

          • Shanahan and Babcocks relationship is a bad one, pretty common knowledge. In fact Babcock isnt a well liked coach by more than a few guys around the league, he is not an easy going guy. Very firey and vocal, not that thats a bad thing, he just rubs some guys the wrong way.

    • So you’ve got Babcock leaving a traditionally good program in Detroit, and Stamkos leaving an up-and-coming Bolts team…and for what? To go to a Toronto squad that hasn’t done anything in the better part of a half-century? Where the fans and press will rip a star player apart if he hasn’t scored in 3 games? Babcock and Stamkos are already part of teams that have won Cups in recent memory…Leafs have made the playoffs once in almost a decade.

      • I agree with golfpensgolf on this. Shanahan came out after he left Detroit and said he didn’t like Babcock’s coaching style. It doesn’t matter if he was a player or the Prez, if he isn’t a fan of his coaching style or the person behind the mask why would he bring him to his team?

    • I agree that would essentially be what would bring him to the Leafs; his desire to suit up for/win with his hometown team trumping all other factors (ex. money). I don’t know/think that it happens, but that would likely be the reason.

    • Case in point about delusional Toronto media/fans. Toronto hasn’t won anything in a half a century so why would a player in his prime want to go there? The franchise is a mess. And as evidenced by them striking out on every major free agent this summer, it isn’t a place that players choose go to…unless they are ridiculiously over paid such as Clarkson last year or Robidas and Komorov this year. No way Stamkos even gets a sniff at free agency. Odds are he signs a Toews/Kane type deal after this season and will be in a Tampa uniform for the next 10 years.

      • Striking out on everyy major free agent? What major free agents would that be? Besides maybe Stastny every other one was pretty much overpaid and quite frankly not very good lol…Bolland Orpik Niskanen….the Leafs werent looking to redo past mistakes they took a gamble on some short term low cost deals for depth and so foar it looks ok, Id rather have Booth Santorelli and Robidas at 5 million combined than pay 5.5 mill each for Bolland, Orpik or one of the other “major free agents”. Bonehead comment.

      • I also think he re-ups with TB. Just reiterating a point that he only comes to T.O. if he values – above all else – the ONE thing they can offer that every other team cannot.

  6. Nothing more then Toronto fans dreaming. There is no story here.

    • yeah only Toronto fans dream.haha..right. DO you think anyone thought Lebron would ever go back to Cleveland- enitre league to choose from…

      • Why do people keep using Lebron as a comparison? Lebron grew up and lived in Cleveland his entire life, Was drafted to his hometown team, left , won a couple of championships and came back home. Lebron had a whole league to choose from, but in reality how many teams have won an NBA championship in the last 20-30 years….? 8-9? 5 or 6 of which have zero chance next year with or without Lebron.

        • Stamkos has the same chance of winning the cup in Tampa as he would if he was in Toronto, none……..

          • Why is that? Tampa is young, talented pretty good ownership, management and coaching…..The only team in the east that has significant improvement this off season after a great finish last year. (who in the east has addressed needs better”) So I really don’t get where that comes from……It just seems like a random and unwarranted comment.

          • Tampa has a far better chance of winning a cup in the next few years than Toronto has of making the playoffs

          • Tampa’s new and improved team still isn’t enough to compete with the powerhouse teams in the WC. JMO.

          • @Thunder, Disagree. 2 calder finalists +Stamkos,Droin, Hedman, Garrison, Stralman, , Killhorn, Gudas, Filppula, Callahan, Carle, Bishop…..hard to find a hole. A lot of the so called WC powerhouse teams found themselves playing golf after the 2nd round. NO WAY does LA repeat…..Chicago….maybe.

        • point about Lebron was that if it was just about money and chance to win right away- he could go somewhere else. Sometimes there are other things at work

          • Still a horrible Comparison. If Stamkos was originally drafted by Toronto, I could see the point…..he wasn’t ……so really it still seems an odd comparison.

        • There would be 2 calder fialists in To if Stamkos did return home aswell Phaneuf Stamkos, not to mention good goaltending Bernier Kessel JVR….you can point out guys that would make all other 29 teams as a destination, where was Tampa the year before last? A bottom 5 team, there is no saying 2 years from now who will be coaching the Leafs or what position they would be in. Rediculious to keep holding Tampa up assome kind og Shangra La saying whywould anybody want to leave there for Toronto. This debate is already old.

          • Tampa is no Shangri La……But neither is Toronto. 2010-2011 They went to the Eastern finals and lost by one goal…..I’d say their recent success is a little better than Toronto’s. I’m not sure you can pin Stamkos with the success of 2 calder finalists when Stamkos only played 37 games….It was in his absence a lot of players stepped up….Hence why they had 3 centers with 40 or more points this year.

          • “Hence why they had 3 centers with 40 or more points this year”……Not named Stamkos.

      • Actually a lot of experts had Lebron going back to Cleveland. A lot of them had this pegged right when he left.

        But ya the Leafs fans over value and dream the most of any professional sports team out there. They are notoriously know for this. Any hockey board you look at has Tavares or Stamkos going to Toronto for mere scraps in return. Don’t get me wrong a lot of other fans do this as well but the Toronto fans are número uno when it comes to day dreaming.

        • Really? or maybe there are just more Leaf fans per capita and thats why it appears that way..what an irrational generalization…every fanbase have morons that propose 4th line goons for Crosby-

  7. If Ryan isn’t locked up to an extension before the beginning of the season (or at least Ottawa has a firm commitment from Ryan) and Ottawa doesn’t trade him, they’re fools. We’ve seen this play out too many times. It works something like this:

    Ottawa will not be completely out of it by the trade deadline. They’ll have some hope of making the playoffs. There will be a limited number of teams willing to take on a big contract. They won’t trade Ryan at the deadline. Then they’ll either miss the playoffs or go out in the first round. After that, one of two things will happen:

    1. He’ll walk as a free agent
    2. He’ll jack up Ottawa for a contract that pays him too much money. Ottawa will have to pay him some insane amount of money, likely around $10.5M to get him to stay.

    Either plan is a loser for Ottawa. They should make a decision now. Sign an extension or you’re gone. Really, this should have been done before the draft. Unless something happens, this is going to end badly for Ottawa.

  8. I would love to see Stamkos come to the Leafs, and while I am not willing to bet on it, the current ownership and management group of the Leafs gives it the best chance than any other group over the history of the team. A lot will depend on where both Tampa and Leafs are at in 2 years.

    I feel bad for Brian Murray. I wish him the very best with his health and recovery, but it can only be more depressing working for “Lean Eugene” , losing their best players at every opportunity because they are unwilling or able to spend to surround their best talent. He is a smart GM working against the tide. No way Ryan resigns with Sens.

  9. who here has met/ talked to stamkos before? i have. he plays at a casino i work at usually in the offseason. i asked him where’s your leaf jersey man? he said “haha maybe some day i’ll rock the blue and white.” he bleeds it, he wants it. just only time will tell.

    • he went from 25 dollar bets to 100 dollar bets after his big contract. at least his money is staying in the gta..

    • he bleeds it, he wants it. just only time will tell.” ….All this from a comment made in passing? What was he going to say? “Nah, Screw Toronto, I’m NEVER coming home” …LOL

      • i’m just saying ive met the guy twice, you shoulda seen him blush and giggle when i asked him. just saying i have more proof to this “story” than the reporters that reported it. or you thats for sure.

      • To say he is coming is wishful thinking to discount it is equally unfounded. Its food for thought if nothing else- if he is winning- chances are against it- but those that know him- know that it he grew up a Leafs fan and would indeed want to come back if it was possible. As for the “state tax”, seriously do you know what kind of endorsements he would be looking at as the NHL posterboy and living in Toronto…come on…
        Suffice to say- wouldnt not be the issue. Its the mecca of hockey versus a totally non traditional..its about post career legacy…
        None of us will know for sure, but to say he would never leave is silly…and yes he could have just said- I am Lightning player period. read Adam Proteau’s 2nd column from THN- might change your mind a little

      • As an American, I take very little stock in anything said on TSN. TSN is pro Canada, and seems pretty blind to anything but Canadian teams. I just hate this whole homecoming bs, It is said often by fans, and rarely comes to fruition. I seen Shattenkirk prior to a Ranger game talk about growing up outside NYC and growing up a Ranger fan, But I didn’t go out and sew his name on a Jersey just yet either. Nor did the Media go on a parade of speculation. As far as endorsements go, I’m not sure he’s better off in NY, Chicago, Toronto etc… again because of taxes. There would be as many or more endorsements lined up for him in the states. Like I said in an earlier statement, Tampa Bay isn’t exactly the same as Miami’s market….huge difference. They have a pretty loyal fan base a young talented team, ownership not afraid to spend. I think he will not see 1 minute of free agency before Tampa locks him up…..For the record, I didn’t say he will never leave, I have been saying it is unlikely he leaves. Also….Who really KNOWS him? You cannot take a comment made under pressure or the possibility of lashing out Canadian press/ fans as anything. These guys are groomed like politicians, to give general vague answers. No player facing Free agency in 2 years is going to say I am (team name here) for life!!!!! That is something you NEVER see in any sport.

        • THN (the hockey news) not TSN. TSN for the record employs the most in the know hockey insiders in the game- you want to dispute that too? Its a hockey crazed city in a hockey crazed country..so when Carmelo’s decision makes the front page over the Rangers (another guy who came home? why because the Knicks are fantastic) tell me how TSN is biased..

          • Go to TSN at any given moment. They rank Edmonton news before they even give mention to the Stanley cup winner….90% of the feeds are Canadian based!

          • ……But while you go check out tsn…..check the article where even they poke at the notion of Stamkos going to Toronto….:I’m happy in Tampa” or the other article “STAMKOS IGNORES LEAFS SPECULATION ON 2016 FREE AGENCY” where he is quoted as saying ………”I try not to focus about that stuff,” he said. “I think that’s the great thing about playing in Tampa is hockey isn’t the mecca that it is here in Toronto and you can kind of go about your life and kind of get away from the game when you need to.”……..or…………..”I’m from around here and grew up cheering for the Leafs, so any time I get a chance to come back here I enjoy it, and any time I get a chance to play against the Leafs it’s fun,” he said. “It’s also fun beating them, too, because a lot of my friends are still Leaf fans.”…..thats a far cry from “TORONTO….I’M COMING HOME”!!!!

        • So you think Steven Stamkos- hockey player- would have more endorsement opportunities in the US- where hockey ranks behind NASCAR and bowling over Canada? I have heard it all….as a Canadian I can tell you you are wrong

          • Hockey Ranks under nascar and Bowling? A bit of a hyperbole don’t you think? Hockey is #1 in Canada, without a doubt…..but what are the other options? CFL and Curling? Seriously? Lecavier ….rumored to “go home” since his rookie year….that didn’t happen……Did Gretzky, Lemieux and Messier go back home? Nope…… Bourque…..nope, Roy, Sakic….nope….Pure speculation…..Give me a break on the endorsement garbage….NY, Chicago, LA,Detroit, populations 10 fold over pretty much any Canadian major city…..I’m pretty sure Stamkos, or any other athlete would be okay as far as endorsements go in any of these cities…….Because most people in these cities couldn’t name a bowler or nascar driver…LMAO!!!! If Canada is such a prime destination for players to go home….why are there never ending rants here (or any blog) of their refusal to do so?

          • Pretty sure that there is pretty much equal coverage of all the major sports here in Canada to compete with a far cry from curling and cfl. Hockey is still king, now in some states such as florida you said yourself there is better coverage of monster truck rally than the NHL….big difference.

          • now in some states such as florida you said yourself there is better coverage of monster truck rally than the NHL….big difference…..Really an exaggeration…. National coverage sucks in Florida unless u buy center ice. What I mean is the Southeast Football will always be king. But then Again Football generates more $$$ in one year than the NHL in 3 years.

        • You’re half right. TSN isn’t pro-Canada, they’re pro-Toronto. They always have been. (Obligatory Dreger-Nonis cousin comment goes here.)

          There’s a reason we call it the Toronto Sports Network here out west…

    • Your comment just made my morning….

      Sounds more like Stammer was giving a politically correct answer to you, hoping you wouldn’t press any further.

    • Where’s your Leafs jersey? What kind of clown asks that question to a player under contract to another team in the first place? Cause all hockey players wander around in the offseason wearing jerseys from other teams… He gave you the politically correct response for the stupidest question on the planet

    • goleafsgo69 , what colour is the sky in the land of Wishful Thinking?

  10. I hope stamkos goes to Toronto but it doubt it happens. There really isn’t much more to say is there? Who knows if he wants to go there. As much of a leafs fan as I am, is the team exponentially better with him? I know they will be better but are we a championship contender with him and Kessel? If this is the case and he wants to come, Toronto has a lot of work to do for the next two years to make themselves attractive

    • Definitely, but I’d anticipate what would happen AFTER he arrives (IF he arrives). Have to think that having Stamkos in tow would do wonders for making the Leafs a much more desirable destination amongst free agents and players with NTC’s.

  11. I would think that any team even considering Stamkos would have to start clearing away 10-11 million a year in cap space, not a simple task and means most likely could not sign players they have or want to acquire in the next year or two to big contracts. You would be putting your team on hold.

  12. The Senators have released their preseason schedule and being a Sens I feel I need to rant. I would also like to rant to hockey minded people so although this is not related to the above here it goes. Feel free to add your two cents.

    The Senators whose broadcast region contains the Maritime provinces (NB, NS, PEI) announced their schedule and they are not playing a single game in the region. Being a Maritimer myself the broadcast region itself could be contributed to the reasonI became a fan when I was lad. Now living in Manitoba I am amazed to see them coming to play in Winnipeg but neglecting their tradition broadcast region. From a team with a narrow fan base and growth asperations this decsions is dissappointing. Those fans in the Maritimes who never get to see a Live NHL game due to their location are ill served by a team who is suppose to be garnering their fandom.

    • sorry all I meant their preseason schedule

  13. Bruins need to make room Ryan is exactly the player they need a young right hander. Ottawa will offer him the moon just not sure he wants to stay there. If he won’t sign soon they should get something back he is to big of an asset to let go.

    • Agree Obe thinking Kelly should go back with a couple prospects.
      Don’t think we could afford him long term but for one year in Iggy’s spot.
      Need to do something.
      My top choice is Eberle. Would go hard after him.

      • Eberle makes $6M per. How does that fit into Boston’s cap problem? Oilers don’t want prospects either.

  14. I don’t think stamkos will leave tb to go to Toronto any time soon. Maybe after his next contract, but not after his current contract. Kind of like when drury wanted to go play for the rangers. It’s like all the buffalo fans who think p. Kane is coming home to play for the sabres. It gets old listening to it. And for the person stating that he could get more endorsements playing for the leafs, it is kind of an irrelevant point. I’m sure he is making enough cash as it is, and would only need more endorsements playing in Toronto due to the high cost of living and the fact that he would be leaving the place where he doesn’t have to pay anystate income tax.

  15. Dave Eberle would be perfect give the Oil- Johnny ( and he would have to sign long term ) Kelly and a pick or prospect like Subban they need goalie or maybe Caron.

    • Agree lots of talk about Boychuk going to Edmonton.
      Would have to give up Kelly for cap relief and would have to give up a top prospect.
      Boychuk,Kelly,Maquaid and Caron or
      Boychuk,Kelly,Bartkowski and Subban
      Chiarelli is sitting on his hands nothing going on.

  16. This is my final comment on Stamkos again I doubt anything comes of this whole thing that has been blown out of proportion but…

    What if Leiweke got a sniff of this and sees it as an opportunity? He is not one to shy away from bold moves, and tells management to do anything they can to make Stamkos a Leaf.
    Such as offer up Kessel and 4 or five first round picks… Dont think at that point Yzerman doesnt maybe have some thoughts or Lightning ownership doesnt make Yzerman think over an offer like that? Maybe it doesnt come to Stamkos having to choose the Leafs as a UFA, even Gretzky got traded. Lots can happen in 2 years.

    • He isn’t going to Toronto at all. Just end all the dreams about him wearing a Leaf jersey. And you never seem to amaze me. 95% of the stuff you say is just flat out stupid.

      • That is exactly why these stories get generated. Some journalist with an agenda to make his preferred team better writes a story in the hopes that it effects future events. In the end it is completely meaningless as a story and a probability.

  17. Boy! You sure can tell it’s been a slow summer news wise in the hockey world when a guy who may or may not be UFA in two years, is such a hot topic of conversation.

  18. Hmm this coming from an expert in stupid comments…it must be true, because if its one thing you would now its stupid.

    I’ve said so far 4 times in this blog today I doubt it happens, but I wouldn’t just rule it out completely. That would be just as stupid as ruling it is a for sure thing.
    Learn to read.

    • Shticky I agree……It could happen. However if Kessel were to go to an event anywhere in US, or eat a hot dog in NY….Nobody is gong to be saying that Kessel wants to return to the United States. I think Stamkos return for an event is a lot of people making a mountain out of an ant hill. At this point and time it is complete blind speculation, it holds ZERO gravity. . I would not rule Stamkos EVER wearing a TML uniform. But I wouldn’t say it’s a 50/50 shot either. If talks break down, Tampa will deal him for an UN-godly return……But lets not take the other possibilities off the table either.

      • this is all I’ve been getting at ever since this happened…oddly enough I was on twitter when Stamkos liked the article from Proteau, it came up in my feed and I thought isn’t that the weirdest thing, instead of excited I brushed it off immediately mainly because of the the past, and UFAs not coming here it was easy to dismiss. Then I kind of thought about it a bit and well Im not 100% sure you can discount it in this case with the type of money he will be seeking, it being 2 years away and a few other reasons (Lieweke being one of them)…I don’t think chances are 50/50 or anything like that either but I think it is dumb just to dismiss it as an absolutely not going to happen thing either. I don’t think in 6 months the Leafs and their coaching staff and management team are going to look anything like they do now and with that I doubt the team does either. I think Liewke and Shanahan are not the type of stooges MLSE has had in the past and Im not sure everything is so fair weather and great times in Tampa yet either (that wasn’t the first time St.Louis had some thoughts of leaving and this was a year they were winning if he stayed they had just as good a chance as anyone to get to the finals)…. I’m saying maybe there is a small (very small) chance he will sign in Toronto and it wouldn’t surprise me if he he ended up there some other way. 2 years is along time in the NHL and nothing is definite.

  19. This Stamkos stuff is so stupid! Just cuz he’s from Toronto, he may sign there? Leave a better team in a great gig on the beach in Tampa and go to the non-playoff leafs? Have all other stars left their team to go play at home? I heard Crosby grew up a Habs fan…maybe he’ll sign with the habs after his contract is over!

    • Missing the point, this wouldnt even be a conversation if Stamkos didnt favorite a tweet about going to play for your hometown, or the article pertaining to it. Evander Kane did the same about playing in Philly and yes after that there was spevulation about him leaving the Jets. Its not just random out of the blue assuming that guys want to play for their favorite teams growing up, there was a reason for the speculation, something behind it. If he didnt like the idea (not saying he personally would do it, but likes the idea of possibly others doing it) why would he favorite it on Twitter where he has tonnes of followers to see it? This wouldnt even be a conversation just like your Crosby example isnt, if Stamkos didnt favorite a tweet.

      • Exactly Shticky- you dont think athletes that are trained to be vanilla would have just avoided it all together…there is that element of intrigue there. of course there is- otherwise you do nothing- you avoid….and when going to an event in TORONTO after the little circus- you definitely dont say “we’ll see” . When he negotiated his last deal- it was said by Mckenzie (yes of course totally pro canadian :) That the Lightning would have given more annually if he allowed them to buy some UFA years- he wouldnt…many reasons I guess – but the intrigue is definitely there. I personally feel it will happen..but heh just my opinion..

  20. I find it funny that we are told – this wont happen and “put it to bed” – just because he is from Toronto…yadda yadda yadda…all this on a site dedicated to trade speculation. Its what the site is all about…yes..sometimes players do come home- Gary Roberts. Joe Niuewendyk Wendel Clark again and again. Gretzky wanted to and Leafs management wouldnt allow it….and many more times it doesnt….we can speculate because its food for thought..we can read into comments because its a slow summer- the same way every “pundit” talks about the house Carmelo did or didnt have up for sale or where Dan Gilberts plane was…
    and yes TSN is pro canada the same way ESPN wont show anything remotely Canadian….

    • Funny- when Zach Parise left a competitive Devils team and went to his hometown- which wasnt /isnt a contender it wasnt stupid, when Ryan Suter followed- not stupid, when Brian Gionta signed with Buffalo- not stupid- when Vanek wanted to go home – not stupid, Ference not stupid…I guess it just applies to player who want to play in Toronto

      • Here I will help you out. The probably of Stamkos joining any of the other 28 teams is equal to that of him joining the Leafs. The probability of him staying as a franchise player in Tampa until the twilight years of his career is high. If at some future junction on the ever of retirement he decides to play for the Maple Leafs than fine but it is a non story. It is so far in the future it has no base to be predicted upon. So in conclusion this story of Stamkos joining Toronto is simply a pipe dream and not an actual story worthy of any news content.

        • Yet when it was those other guys Sam mentioned Parise Suter Vanek all not in the twiilight of their careers it was a story? How much you want to bet before the year is over we hear aboit Ryan heading to Philly or NJ for the exact same reason, but that cant be a story now can it? Not sure that all 28 teams would have the same chance as the Leafs, believe it or not I would be willing to bet there are a whole bunch of teams that have less of a chance than Toronto if he was to decide to test free agency. Give your head a shake.

  21. cool…stamkos and oreilly coming to TO in 2016

  22. all this talk about Stammer is all horse crap spurred on by a headline seeking journalist…Leafs fan, stop dreaming, no way TB let’s him go…U people are a funny bunch…hahaha….