GM BriseBois believes Lightning can still re-sign Stamkos

Lightning analyst Erik Erlendsson joins Jeff Marek to discuss how shocked he was to hear about the Ryan McDonagh trade, whether Steven Stamkos could be dealt to make the financials work, and why clearly their window isn’t closing any time soon.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made a significant roster move on Tuesday, but it didn’t involve pending free agent Steven Stamkos.

The Lightning re-acquired defenceman Ryan McDonagh from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a second and fourth-round pick, raising eyebrows and questions as to whether the team will have the adequate cap space to re-sign its $8.5 million-per-year captain.

Despite speculation, general manager Julien BriseBois still believes the organization and Stamkos can come to an agreement on a contract extension.

“We’re still able, in my mind, to get something done that makes sense for the organization with Steven, even after acquiring Ryan McDonagh,” Brisebois said, according to Tampa-based reporter Chris Krenn. “We still have some cap space to get done what I think we need to get done this off-season.”

After their Game 5 loss in Round 1 to the Florida Panthers, both Stamkos and BriseBois expressed a willingness to get an extension done prior to free agency.

“There are different factors than there were last time, but nothing’s really changed in terms of my mindset and where I wanted to be and play, and that was here. That certainly hasn’t changed,” Stamkos said at the time. “I’m hopeful that something works out here, because I do love it here, and I still think that we have a chance to win with the group of guys that we have here.”

BriseBois said it would be “unfair” to characterize the talks as of yet, but said they were still ongoing.

“I don’t think anything’s changed,” he said. “Steven was upfront saying he wanted to stay. That’s his strong preference. I’ve mentioned that’s our strong preference as well. Now, we’re still working on how do we make this happen for it to make sense for both sides.”

McDonagh also had some high praise for his former, and now current, teammate and hopes he’ll be able to suit up with him once again.

“He’s the definition of a Bolt. He’s done everything in his career to be as successful as he could and bring as much success to that organization and that franchise,” the defenceman said to reporters. “I can’t say enough great things about him and the importance of bringing him back. Hopefully they can find a way to make that happen and we can keep building special memories here in Tampa together.”

Stamkos signed an eight-year, $68-million contract with a full no-move clause in 2016. Since then, he’s scored 243 goals and amassed 575 while captaining the squad to back-to-back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances and two championships.

He was drafted by the Lightning first overall in 2008 and has played all 1,082 NHL games with the organization.

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