Recently it was reported that the Tampa Bay Lightning could be looking to trade some of their star players; Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and even 2008 number one draft pick Steven Stamkos. Is it possible that the Lightning would trade their number one pick from less than a year ago?
No way. Yes Stamkos has struggled with only 20 points in his first 50 games as a pro but you cannot expect that the number one pick will be able to be effective in his jump from Juniors to the NHL, see Rick Nash. If this rumor has some truth to it then the real reason for shopping Stamkos would be for financial reasons.
At the start of the season, when the NHL and its Board of Governors decided to include rookie bonuses into the cap number many teams suffered including the Lightning as Stamkos’ cap hit went from $875,000 to $3,725,000. This inclusion of the bonuses into the cap put the Lightning in danger of going over the cap and prevented the Lightning from finishing the reconstruction of their defense.
Now the Lightning, like the Thrashers and Coyotes are having difficulty putting people in the seats and are losing tons of money so this might be the reason why Stamkos is being shopped along with St. Louis and Lecavalier. I understand that the Lightning are trying to save money and I understand the mentioning of Lecavalier and St. Louis in rumors but why Stamkos who is still an 18 year old being shopped? It doesn’t make sense and I believe that cooler heads will prevail because the cap situation might be different.
It is likely that next season the inclusion of bonuses will not be a part of the cap hit and once again Stamkos’ cap hit is $875,000 and one of the most affordable players on their team, who would also likely be their number two center. You cannot expect to get Patrick Kane’s every season and it is likely that given time Stamkos will be a very effective player for years to come.
So Oren Koules and the rest of the Lightning management just need to take a deep breath and look into trade other players that likely will not figure into their future because at this point Steven Stamkos is the future of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s as likely to be found in another jersey as he would be playing pump paintball on a Saturday night.