From The Ice

McKenzie: Canadiens, Predators May Be Attractive To Stamkos

(Philippe Bouchard/Icon Sportswire)

Bob McKenzie was on Toronto’s TSN 1050 on Tuesday afternoon.

As part of a larger discussion on the future of Steven Stamkos, and how likely he would see a Stamkos-to-Toronto scenario play out if Stamkos were to become a free agent:

“Well, again, I’ll use the needle analogy. If the needle is pointing either towards the Toronto Maple Leafs or let’s call it ‘the field’ – that’s everybody except for Tampa – I would probably say it’s pointing more towards the field than Toronto. But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of Toronto.

“But I think – listen, no one knows for sure… We’re all just pie-in-the-sky dreaming a little bit.

“Having said that… I know Steven Stamkos a little bit and I would think the thing that fuels Steven Stamkos more than his hometown is he wants to win. More than money. More than anything. And I know that money is always important and it’s always a factor, but I think what Steven Stamkos wants more than anything else is to play on a team where he believes he’s a key cog in a championship bid and with a reasonable chance to win and win fairly soon. He’s not old, by any stretch. But he’s not young either. I mean, we’ve seen the NHL get younger and younger and younger all the time. So at age 25, I think he’s got plenty of tread left on the tires.

“But that said, he was in the Stanley Cup Final last year and came up short. I think what motivates him is to win Stanley Cups. And as I say, I don’t know that that precludes Toronto necessarily, because if you look far enough down the road – whether it’s three years, four years, five years – and you look at Mike Babcock and his track record, and some of the young players the Leafs have got, I guess you could talk yourself into a scenario where within a reasonable amount of time maybe that could happen in the next five years.

“But I’ve got to be honest with you. If I were Steven Stamkos – so I’ll put my sensibilities on him – I would look at the Montreal Canadiens and say, ‘Wow. There’s a good team. P.K. Subban, a guy I grew up with. Know him real well. That looks like a team that could win and boy, wouldn’t it be fun to play hockey in Montreal.’

“Because that element of Steven Stamkos that we’re talking about, that makes Toronto an attractive thing because it’s his hometown – I mean, a lot of the same things would apply to – imagine being a real good player, and maybe the missing piece of the puzzle, on the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal to put the Canadiens possible over the top in their bid to win a Cup.

“I mean, what about the Nashville Predators? If Steven Stamkos went to the Nashville Predators with that defense and goaltending and his good buddy James Neal. Could he be a difference-maker there to put somebody over the top?

“So I think if he gets to free agency – and as I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does, but I couldn’t say that unequivocally – I think there are going to be a lot of players, and a lot of potential landing spots for Steven Stamkos. And the motivation for him, first and foremost, is going to be a chance to win a Cup, and win it sooner rather than later. And that’s not to say that the city and the money and who he knows on the team, and who coaches the team, what position he’ll play – all of those things come in as factors.

“But ultimately, this is a kid that wants to win a Stanley Cup.”

Source: TSN 1050/ Transcript: Nichols

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