Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman says star forward Steven Stamkos will not be traded prior to the Feb. 29th deadline.
“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 statement. “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.”
Stamkos' contract includes a no-trade clause that he would have to waive. If the Lightning fail to reach a contract extension with Stamkos before the trade deadline, they would risk losing him at the end of the season when his contract expires, permitting him to enter free agency.
Stamkos is in the final year of his five-year, $37.5 million contract. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane lead the NHL with salary cap hits of $10.5 million, but it is believed the Lightning captain could surpass that in free agency.
Stamkos has 22 goals and 20 assists in 55 games this year.