Bob McKenzie was on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 on Tuesday morning.
On if he thinks this is a bit of a lock for the Leafs to sign Steven Stamkos as a UFA because they now have the cap space to do it:
“No, not at all. And for a couple of reasons here.
“No. 1, whether they traded Dion Phaneuf or not, there’s no doubt in my mind if Stamkos goes to July 1, the Leafs were going to take a really good run at Steven Stamkos. That’s with or without Phaneuf. So yeah, if he’s a free agent on July 1, I fully expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to go in there and give it their best pitch and see if it works. But they didn’t have to trade Phaneuf to do that. It certainly makes it easier to digest, and they would have had to do other things. If they were able to sign Stamkos on July 1, then would have to look at other moves to make room for him.
“But the second part of that is does Steven Stamkos want to play in Toronto? I don’t know that he does. I know that Leafs fans assume that he does. But I think there’s often times a disconnect on that.
McKenzie: Does Stamkos want to play in Toronto? "I don't know that he does. I know that #Leafs fans assume that he does." #TBLightning
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 9, 2016
“A) We’re not sure Stamkos gets to July 1. B) If he does get to July 1, the world is his oyster and just because he’s from Toronto doesn’t necessarily mean, ‘Boom, I’m coming home.’ I think there’s a lot more that goes into that decision for Stamkos.
“So I think it’s no question in my mind that the Leafs want Steven Stamkos. Significant question in my mind whether he wants them. And as I said, whether Phaneuf got traded or not, the Leafs are going to take a run at him.”
Source: TSN 1040/ Transcript: Nichols