In the wake of growing speculation surrounding Steven Stamkos‘s future with the Tampa Bay Lightning, general manager Steve Yzerman released a statement Monday quelling recent trade talk.
“As February 29th approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL’s trade deadline,” Yzerman said in a release from the team. “I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs.
“I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations.”
Yzerman’s statement comes on the heels of comments from the Lightning captain last week in which Stamkos told reporters in Tampa that the trade deadline will provide “answers” regarding his future with the team. Stamkos’s agent, Don Meehan, also weighed in on the Feb. 29 deadline last week on Prime Time Sports, calling it “a sensitive issue” during a guest appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.
Stamkos, who has 22 goals and 42 points in 55 games this season, is set to become a free agent on July 1.