Elliotte Friedman was on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 on Friday morning.
On what else the Toronto Maple Leafs are up to, and what he’s hearing around the draft:
“Well, you don’t hear a lot of what Toronto is up to anymore, which is boring, but…”
Ask Benning. Jim Benning.
“(Laughs) Fantastic. Hey, can we bring this guy here? He’s never met a question he won’t answer. I love the guy.
“I think the biggest question is going to be Stamkos, and where we are with him after this weekend or the next week. Because as of tomorrow, you can start talking to teams.
“I think Stamkos – there’s so many theories on him. Where he wants to play. Where he doesn’t want to play. I still believe, and I’ve been steadfast on this, that his choice is to stay in Tampa. But I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I think the big question is, when Stamkos is finally able to talk to teams, where’s he going to go and who’s he going to talk to. And how interested is Toronto. That’s the biggest question I think we’re all going to have answered over the next few days.”
Here’s a stupid question Elliotte. Watching LeBron James go home and win a championship –do you think that something like that, seeing him in a parade, seeing people climbing on the sides of buildings, millions of people downtown, city that hadn’t won in 52 years – do you think that would have any tertiary effect on a decision that Steve Stamkos might make to come home?
“I think you used the right word there, and that’s tertiary, because I don’t think it would necessarily be the primary reason. I think again, like I said, I really do believe if they can work it out in Tampa, that’s where he’s always wanted to stay. So I think he would look at that, and if it doesn’t work there – because in a lot of ways, he considers that his home now, in terms of hockey. But if it doesn’t work out there, I could see him looking at something and saying, ‘Okay, if these are my other options, yes, I could see that being a factor.’
“I mean, here in Buffalo, I do think that if he does get to the market, the Buffalo bid is the one that everyone is waiting to see. Because they’re a team that has some room to bid a big number. That’s No. 1. They have shown no fear of bidding big numbers. And if you look at Ryan O’Reilly’s contract, they basically made that all bonuses. So there’s no question that they’d be willing to structure Stamkos’s contract a bit different if he got to that point.”
Source: Sportsnet 590/ Transcript: Nichols