Well, count Sportsnet’s Glenn Healy among those who believe that an extension offer of $8.5 million per year, as reported by Elliotte Friedman, is a low-ball bid of an insulting degree. (It should be noted that Friedman did not report that offer was for the maximum eight years.)
Stamkos did not confirm or deny the number. Both sides agreed to not negotiate publicly.
“I really find it hard to believe that [GM Steve] Yzerman would make that offer without a little bit of a guilty feeling or a smirk on his face, because it’s not even in the ballpark,” Healy told Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Monday.
“If that, in fact, is the offer? Embarrassing. And I would not call them back, and I would not even think of signing a contract to have me play for that amount.”
Stamkos is represented by Don Meehan and Newport Sports Management, the largest agency in hockey. He has maintained his desire to remain with the Lightning after leading the club to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
“You think that agency group is going to allow him to sign that contract?” laughed Healy, who formerly served as director of player affairs for the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
“You put him to market, you think the Leafs would offer him eight-five? He would make more money in seven years than he would make playing for Tampa in eight years.”
Yzerman and Meehan have yet to comment on the reported offer, which would give Stamkos a raise of $1 million per year. Surely, Stamkos’s targeted ballpark is more in the Kopitar range.
The 25-year-old Stamkos ranks second, behind Nikita Kucherov, in team scoring with 37 points through 48 games this season. He is tied with Kucherov for the team lead in goals (20) and is seeing more ice time than any other Tampa forward.
Should Stamkos opt not to re-sign prior to July 1, he will become the highest-profile UFA the league has seen in years. In an era where goals are difficult to come by, Stamkos’s career shooting percentage is an impressive 17 per cent.
“Even if he were to go down tomorrow with a season-ending injury, it wouldn’t matter. His body of work has been seen by the league,” Healy said.
“And if July 1, he goes to market, I can’t imagine there won’t be 20 teams saying, ‘How do we make room for this guy?’ “