After weeks of ever-increasing speculation, Steven Stamkos will be … staying right where he is.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Wednesday, two days before the start of NHL free agency, that Stamkos will re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
McKenzie also shared the details of Stamkos’ contract extension:
That deal signifies Stamkos was willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Tampa Bay, where’s he’s spent his entire NHL career. After making $7.5 million this past season, it was speculated he could fetch an average annual value of $10 million or more on the open market.
Stamkos was set to become an unrestricted free agent Friday — perhaps the most sought-after one in NHL history. Instead, it appears the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the rest of the reported suitors for the 26-year-old center will be forced to focus their attention elsewhere.
UPDATE (5:12 p.m.): Steven Stamkos confirmed he’s staying with the Lightning.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images