The Tampa Bay Lightning may have done the Dallas Stars at least two favors with their recent re-signing of star forward Steven Stamkos. Mike Heika counts the reasons, which start with the upcoming Jamie Benn negotiations and continue to the cap squeeze that could still pop loose goalie Ben Bishop:
By signing Steven Stamkos to an eight-year contract extension that averages $8.5 million, Yzerman set a perfect market price for Stars' captain Jamie Benn and also created enough of a salary crunch that he might have to try to move the best goalie that could go on the market - Ben Bishop.
As Heika writes, NHL contract negotiations tend to hinge on the money and term offered to comparable players. Stamkos and Benn – captains, faces of their franchises, both in the upper echelon of the league's elite performers – are about as comparable as they can be:
Benn this year was a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He is second in NHL scoring over the last three seasons to Sidney Crosby, so he deserves to be talked about in relation to the richest players in the league.
That's why everyone was watching Stamkos. He didn't sign an extension last summer, he waited. Many felt he would use his freedom to extract the most money. Had he signed for $11 million or more, it certainly would have affected the Benn negotiations.
So this does, as well.
There's much more at Mike's place. Clear your cookies first! [SportsDayDFW]
Heika is all over the Stars-related rumors as the NHL readies itself for a potential free-agency frenzy.
Milan Lucic will decide his future team today, says ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.
Hearing that Milan Lucic has narrowed his choices to two teams. Decision time Friday when market opens.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2016
This is after he reportedly took his last meeting before free agency with the Stars in Vancouver, led by owner Tom Gaglardi himself. [theScore]
Heika took to Twitter to address the Lucic-to-the-Stars buzz late yesterday afternoon.
Yes, they are interested in Milan Lucic. I think he will command too much money and will not sign in Dallas. https://t.co/hcZ8QNW2qs— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) June 30, 2016
Just guessing, but he would have to leave a ton of money on table to come to Dallas. https://t.co/k726200MEx— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) June 30, 2016
There's more 140-characters-or-less Mike right here. [SportsDayDFW]
What are non-Lightning teams to do now that Stammer has turned his head from their heart-eyes? Kevin Allen rounds up some of the better players still available, from Loui Eriksson to Andrew Ladd to Dan Hamhuis. [USA Today]
Darren Dreger of TSN aired out the Stars-related rumors surrounding Chicago Blackhawks D-man Brian Campbell.
I believe the Dallas Stars want Brian Campbell. I believe the Stars were his 2nd choice. I also believe he rejoins the Hawks tomorrow.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2016
Jeff K is getting into the spirit of the season.
Free agency has been very good to @DallasStars fans the past 3 summers. What will Santa Nill place under our Xmas-in-July trees this year?— Jeff K (@jeffk_stars) July 1, 2016
Meanwhile, GM Jim Nill is, as usual, playing his cards exceedingly close to his chest. [Stars Inside Edge]
Hurtling over the transom just before midnight: The Florida Panthers have locked up the services of Aaron Ekblad for the next ever.
In other RFA news, the Boston Bruins have extended defender Torey Krug for four years and $21 million. They've also parted ways with Dennis Seidenberg, who will get bought out for 2/3 of his remaining contract. [Puck Daddy]
In additional buyout news:
- Defender James Wisniewski's 2015-16 season ended 47 seconds into the first game. Now that single misfortunate shift will represent his entire career with the Carolina Hurricanes. [Canes Country]
- The Nashville Predators will buy out winger Eric Nystrom, who played 46 games last season before suffering a broken foot caused by a Shea Weber slapshot. [On the Forecheck]
- And the Edmonton Oilers have put forward Lauri Korpikoski on unconditional waivers prior to buying out the last year of his contract. [Copper and Blue]
Find the latest list here. [TSN]
Most fans have made a decision about who won the Subban-Weber trade. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has decided it was him.
Marc Bergevin is convinced the Habs got better today. He just refused to say why. It's complicated: https://t.co/14ssoezpmq— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 30, 2016
Meanwhile, Andrew Berkshire ponders the unthinkable – Montréal without P.K. – in the latest Ice Level podcast. [Eyes On the Prize]
And Alan Hull works off his rage over the Taylor Hall trade with a post on how to write a Taylor Hall trade post. [Copper and Blue]
Finally: The Hockey Hall of Fame is full of amazing mementos of NHL greats. Enjoy this one with pride as we wait only for a Mike Modano statue in Victory Plaza.