Stamkos, Lightning talking contract
Steven Stamkos says his camp is talking to the Tampa Bay Lightning about a new contract, but there's no deal yet.
A report Wednesday by the St. Petersburg Times quoted the pending restricted free agent forward as saying, "I think it's close" regarding a new contract with the Lightning.
Stamkos confirmed later in the day during an online chat on CBCSports.ca that no deal has been reached yet.
"Nothing is official," he said. "There's still talks going on. Right now it's in my agent's and the management's hands trying to get something done, but nothing just right now."
Stamkos — represented by Newport Sports, which is led by agents Don Meehan and Pat Morris — is eligible to become a restricted free agent on July 1, at which time other teams can sign him to an offer sheet. The Lightning have the right to match any offer.
Stamkos made $3.725 million US last season, including bonuses, but is expected to command a significantly higher annual salary on his next contract.
The 21-year-old scored an NHL-best 96 goals over the past two seasons. He also made his first appearance in the NHL playoffs, recording six goals in 18 games as Tampa Bay made it to the Eastern Conference final, where it lost in seven games to eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston.