Rumors surrounding Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos regarding his pending free agent status have been circulating since the start of the 2015-16 season, with speculation about whether or not the 26-year-old captain would test the free agent market or head back to Tampa Bay for more time (and whether or not the team could afford the kind of deal he may command).
Nothing has come out just yet, as Stamkos sits out the postseason recovering from a blood clot – but according to Tampa Bay Lightning VP Dave Andreychuk, the likely outcome will be that Stamkos stays in Tampa Bay.
Stamkos has returned to skating this week, although he’s not ready to return to the lineup. Still, as the focus of the conversation published by Sportsnet earlier today turned to contracts, Andreychuk was confident that something would get done between the former first overall pick and the Atlantic Division club.
“Steven is going to come back. He’s going to be fine,” Dave Andreychuk told Hockey Central at Noon Wednesday.
“I still believe that [GM] Steve Yzerman is trying whatever he can do to sign Steven Stamkos, and I believe it will happen. Even with all this going on, I think it will happen.”
The conversation, of course, also turned to one other player on the roster – Jonathan Drouin.
In regards to the younger forward, Andreychuk was more hesitant to give a confident answer; he made sure to praise Drouin’s play since returning from a self-inflicted hiatus, but also admitted he didn’t know whether or not the team could fit the forward into the lineup moving foward.
It’ll be up to GM Steven Yzerman, but Drouin could be on his way out.