Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Free Agent Speculation In December

Impending free agency is a strange thing. Steven Stamkos rolls into his hometown with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and everyone is making a pitch for how much he deserves from the Maple Leafs when his deal expires on June 30, 2016 this summer. I checked my calendar, and it's December 15, 2015. Are we really discussing this more than six months before anything can even be offered? This is beyond lunacy! Unless Steve Yzerman steps forward and says that Stamkos is on the trading block, everyone in The Big Smoke needs to take a step back and a deep breath.

Look, there's no denying that Stamkos is a special talent when it comes to putting pucks in nets. No one can ever take that away from him, and he certainly will be rewarded by whatever team decides to drive a dump truck full of money up to his doorstep. There is cap room for most teams to sign him, but you have to ask yourself how much the winning team in the Stamkos sweepstakes is willing to tie up in a player who is on pace to score less than 30 goals in a season for the first time since 2008-09 not including lockout- or injury-shortened seasons.

The problem? He's not a free agent until next summer. Everyone asked him about his impending free agency while he was in town today, but it's clear that he's taking this season day by day. I'm sure that Steve Yzerman will sit down with his agent at some point over the next six months and try to figure out how to keep the superstar in the Lightning camp. There's no rush to get a contract done at this point, and there's certainly no need to put more pressure on Stamkos who is struggling right now.

Heck, even Tim and Sid from Sportsnet got in on the hype.

Give it a rest, Toronto. While I appreciate your ability to hype this Stamkos-to-Toronto idea much like Edmonton's McDavid hype gripped that city, it's beyond ridiculous right now. Talk to me in six months.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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