It’s certainly been an interesting and eventful off season for the Philadelphia Flyers. There are still more moves to come for the orange and black, though how “earthshattering” those moves will be has yet to be seen.
In the last few days the rumors of the Flyers possibly acquiring Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos have spread like wild fire. The rumors have been legitimized by some and shot down by others. However, the bottom line is, it’s certainly a real possibility.
Before Flyers fans start dancing in the streets, lets break down just exactly what is being said in regards to Steven Stamkos possibly playing in Philadelphia next season.
What kind of leverage does the Tampa Bay Lightning have?
By now we all know that Stamkos is a restricted free agent, and while he and the Lightning have been trying to negotiate a new deal, the talks haven’t been positive. Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has stated that Tampa will match any offer made to Stamkos if July 1st comes without a new deal between the team and their young superstar. However, an already cash-strapped Lightning team may be unable to match an expensive offer-sheet sent Stamkos’ way.
NHL teams were officially allowed to extend offer-sheets to restricted free agency yesterday at 5:00PM. No team, as of yet has offered one to the Lightning and Stamkos. Word is that a few NHL teams are in the process of doing just that, including the Philadelphia Flyers. The Lightning would then have 7 days to match any offer sheet to retain Stamkos, or accept the offer sheet in return for 4 1st round picks.
If in the coming days it becomes clear the Lightning cannot come to an agreement with Stamkos, they’ll likely look to trade him. Obviously, the return they’ll be looking for starts with 4 1st rounder’s and goes from there. It’s certainly a hefty price for any player, especially one with only a few years of NHL hockey under his belt.
Do the Flyers actually have a shot at landing Stamkos?
Yes. The Flyers hold all of their 1st round draft picks for the next 4 seasons. They can also go over the salary cap until the beginning of the NHL season, so fitting Stamkos under the cap wouldn’t be a problem. The Flyers could acquire Stamkos and worry about clearing the necessary space later. Many would wonder how Tampa Bay could even entertain the thought of letting their prized young superstar walk. Well it’s simple; it all comes down to money. The Lightning certainly isn’t a major hockey market and they already have money tied up in Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone and Erik Brewer.
However, depending on who you believe, their interest level can be debated. Some sources say the Flyers are prepared to go after Stamkos, while others say the Flyers have abandoned any hope of landing the young sniper. Though, remember this is the organization that said they weren’t trading Jeff Carter and we all know what happened there.
As the days go by this situation gets more and more interesting.
Do I believe it will happen? No.
Does it make the off season fun? You bet.
So, have fun dreaming of Steven Stamkos wearing orange and black Flyers fans, while you still can.