The Jonathan Drouin soap opera has managed to deflect a lot of the heat away from the stalemate on a new contract for pending UFA Steven Stamkos. On Saturday’s “Headlines” segment on Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman reports that Stamkos has a new contract offer on the table, carrying an average annual value (AAV) of $8.5 million.
There was no report on the term, though at this annual number, it would seem likely that it’s for close to the max length.
$8.5 million is well below what many projections had this deal coming in at With Anze Kopitar bringing in an AAV of $10 million on a new contract last week, becoming the third highest paid player in the NHL, it looked like Stamkos would have to come in around that area with how high new contracts for elite players have been in the last 18 months.
That AAV would have Stamkos tied with Henrik Lundqvist for eighth highest in the league, behind Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Kopitar, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, P.K. Subban, Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry (in that order).
While placing Stamkos inside that list makes $8.5 million seem a little reasonable, the increase in salaries for elite players in recent years — as well as the impact of losing him for nothing otherwise — should ensure that Stamkos comes in a good shot above that figure. Though we don’t know what stage of the negotiations this comes from, based on projections, it seems probable that this offer will come up. It’s also possible that with Florida’s income tax laws being the way they are that the organization can argue that $8.5 million in Tampa is actually worth more than a higher AAV figure in a city like, let’s say, Toronto.