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Maple Leafs Likely to Give Tavares The ‘Stamkos Treatment’

Rumors of a mid-range extension for John Tavares dismissed; Toronto might follow Stamkos’s shorter-term approach.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are adopting a cautious approach this season, refraining from offering Steven Stamkos an early contract extension. While the veteran forward expressed dissatisfaction with the delay, the Lightning have emphasized the need to assess their full team roster before committing to any extension. This is especially true for one with substantial long-term implications.

On TSN OverDrive, the panel delves into the Lightning’s strategy, suggesting they are testing Stamkos’s commitment to the team. Jeff O’Neil points out the team’s desire for Stamkos to demonstrate his love for the Lightning by considering a shorter-term, lower-value deal. The Lightning appear unwilling to entertain the idea of a lengthy, high-value contract, signaling that Stamkos may need to accept a reduced deal if he wishes to remain in Tampa. O’Neil says, “They’re going to be like, okay, well if we want to do something and do some kind of retool on the fly here, if you’re going to show us that you love it, that means it’s $3 million or whatever…”

It’s going to be a tough pill for Stamkos to swallow. So too, it will be intriguing to see if he ultimately tests the free agency waters elsewhere.

Will the Maple Leafs Take the Same Approach With John Tavares?

Comparisons are drawn to John Tavares’ situation in Toronto, where rumors of a four or five-year deal at $7 million are debunked. O’Neil sarcastically said, “Excuse me? What are you talking about? It’s like they just gave him 80 million dollars!”

He then emphasizes the business aspect of a Tavares extension, highlighting that teams like the Leafs won’t easily offer a high-value contract to veteran player like Tavares moving forward. The notion of Tavares returning under a cost-effective deal and accepting a reduced on-ice role is likely a given. Comparing Tavares’ situation to Stamkos’, he notes, “Right, well so what do you think Tampa’s doing oh so he’s the captain they’re just giving Stamos a four-year deal at $7 million, no they’re not… it’s a business man. It’s big business.”

Steven Stamkos John Tavares Maple Leafs

They figure, at best, the Leafs will tell Tavares that if he wants to come back, he’ll have to lock in on a cheap deal. From there, he’ll need to become a third or fourth-line player who is not going to be an impact player. The hosts all seemed to concur that Tavares may have little choice but to play elsewhere as it’s a difficult thing to bring that guy back into the locker room. Kevin Hayes called it a serious transition that Tavares would have to be comfortable with.

Next: Skinner Helps Oilers Earn 14 Straight Wins, Breaks Fuhr’s Record



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