BriseBois: Lightning won’t negotiate with Stamkos until end of season

BriseBois: Lightning won't negotiate with Stamkos until end of season

Steven Stamkos will have to wait until the end of the 2023-24 campaign before he gets a new contract.

The Tampa Bay Lightning captain is entering the final season of an eight-year, $68-million deal inked in 2016. Stamkos said on the first day of training camp in September that he hoped to get an extension done over the summer and was “disappointed” by the lack of talk toward a deal. He added that there hadn’t been any conversations but was “ready whenever” to begin discussions.

However, Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said Wednesday that he’ll let the campaign play out before negotiating a new deal with Stamkos.

“Ultimately, I made the decision that it’s in the best interest of our organization to wait until after the season to see what we have here, see how we perform, see how all these different, new pieces fit,” BriseBois told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. “Then we’ll be in a better position to make the best decision to set ourselves up for continued success.”

BriseBois wasn’t shy about signing extensions this offseason. He handed Brandon Hagel an eight-year, $52-million extension and gave Darren Raddysh a two-year, $1.95-million deal in August. The Lightning also project to have over $10 million in cap space next summer, and Stamkos is the only notable upcoming unrestricted free agent.

But BriseBois is adamant that he wants Stamkos to remain with the club over the long haul.

“I’ve stated that I think it would be great for the organization for Steven to finish his career here. He wants that,” Brisebois said. “But what we want is for Steven to finish off his career in Tampa and for the club to continue to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders for the remainder of his tenure.”

Stamkos recorded 34 goals and 50 assists in 81 games last season. The 33-year-old picked up an assist in the club’s victory on opening night Tuesday.

The Lightning selected Stamkos first overall in 2008. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (515) and points (1,057). Stamkos also ranks second in games played (1,004) and assists (542) behind Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, respectively, but both records could be his by the end of this season.

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