Whether Steven Stamkos signs with the Tampa Bay Lightning and spurns the ever hypnotizing allure of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs—one thing is for sure. After the 2015-2016 NHL season, Stamkos is going to get paid and paid handsomely for his services.
One reason is, well it’s Steven Stamkos, you know the guy who pots you 50-60 goals a year without fail. That kind of talent will always get top dollar in this league and Stamkos more than deserves top dollar and will get it.
One of the other reasons why Stamkos’ chances of getting a max deal just rose—Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Although Kane and Toews don’t seem to have the stats that Stamkos does, they do have championships and they essentially are the Chicago Blackhawks. GM Stan Bowman knows this and made the move to keep both of them together in a deal that may break the bank now but will definitely look nice and pretty when the salary cap gets to about $80 million down the road (it went to $64.3 after the lockout.) The other reason is well it’s Steven Stamkos, you know the guy who pots you 50-60 goals a year without fail.
Now that Stamkos has his precedent what does it mean for his deal in two years?
According to the CBA, the maximum threshold that a player can have in terms of salary cannot exceed 20 percent of the cap. Kane and Toews came in under that with $10.5 million AAV (AAV is the annual cap hit of a player on their team’s salary cap) a year but could have gotten the max contract of $13.8 million due to that 20 percent. Now that the math kind of makes sense what Stamkos would be looking at a max of $16 million a year based on some projections.
Hypothetically, say Stamkos resigns with the Lightning for 8 years at $16 million a year and gets a $10 million signing bonus more than Kane and Toews. That would put his overall contract of at $128 million with $10 million being signing bonus. So it would end up being $118 million plus the $10 million signing bonus divided by the 8 year term (which is the maximum term under the new CBA), giving Steven Stamkos an AAV hit of $16 million which is more than double of what his current cap hit is.
The other thing besides the money is term. Under the new CBA the max term a player can get is 8 years if they resign with their current club. Stamkos is going to want term on his deal and if he goes to the Maple Leafs, he can only sign a max deal of 7 years. Now considering a player of his talents, that may not make a difference but then again it might but don’t expect Stamkos to take a one or two year deal however that is a remote possibility.
There have been many contracts that haven’t worked out when it comes to long-term deals and That’s a lot of money going to one player and if GM Steve Yzerman can keep surrounding himself with cheap talent like he has done so far it can be far manageable than expected. But make no mistake that is the maximum and probably only proper asking price for Steven Stamkos so be prepared Bolts fans.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all unfolds as there are so many variables at play here from the player’s wishes, to the salary cap and even what the market place will dictate.
Having an NHL super star makes any team better but it also makes it more expensive too, the Lightning may have to bite the bullet and pay the pauper if they want to keep their star player.