Stamkos still without a deal in Tampa; could he be a Flyer?

Posted: June 25, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Another day came and went yesterday without a contract extension for highly coveted restricted free-agent forward Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay.

On Wednesday in Las Vegas, Stamkos said he thought that a deal with the Lightning was "close" and that he wasn't worried.

But Tampa Bay, a small-market team with rumored financial questions that never spends near the salary-cap limit, has had nearly a month since its season ended to knock out a deal with Stamkos.

Stamkos, 21, is already one of the NHL's three best players. No player has more than his 96 goals over the last two seasons.

Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman reportedly has been seeking to sign Stamkos in the $7 million-per-year neighborhood.

As each day peels off the calendar toward July 1, his situation will get more interesting for Flyers fans.

According to sources familiar with the Flyers' thinking, the front office reportedly has been salivating with nearly $10.2 million in salary-cap space for next season.

Nothing can happen until July 1, when Stamkos would need to be signed to an offer sheet that Tampa Bay either can accept (in exchange for four first-round draft picks as compensation) or choose to match.

A source close to Tampa Bay told the Daily News the team would be hard pressed to match an outrageous offer; Vincent Lecavalier is due $50 million over the next five seasons and Ryan Malone has an expensive long-term deal.

Yzerman has said he is "prepared for anything."

The Flyers are not permitted to comment publicly on any hypothetical involving Stamkos, as it would be a violation of the NHL's tampering rule. Of course, many variables come into play, such as the Flyers' cap space, Tampa Bay's ongoing negotiations, and even another team getting into the mix with an offer sheet.

Toronto general manager Brian Burke reportedly would be willing to sign Stamkos to an offer sheet for nearly $9 million per season.

But as each day passes without a new deal for Stamkos, the situation becomes a little more interesting. It isn't out of the realm of possibility for the Flyers.

Voracek ready

Within just a couple hours on Thursday, Jakub Voracek went from playing on a team in a small Columbus market that is a perennial doormat to the country's fourth-biggest media market and a perennial contender.

"I was pretty happy," Voracek said yesterday on a conference call, discussing the trade for Jeff Carter that brings him to Philadelphia. "I hear only great things about the Flyers organization, and it's an honor to play there. I'm basically starting a new life, and this team has a chance to win the Stanley Cup every year."

Voracek, 21, collected 134 points in his first three NHL seasons, but hasn't exactly had the scoring talent around him in Columbus that the former seventh overall pick will now have around him.

He is well regarded as a two-way player with his offensive upside, but his hockey sense has always been under question, with his turnover vulnerability. The restricted free agent could command as much as $2.5 million from the Flyers in what is expected to be a short-term deal. *

comments powered by Disqus