You know, I’ve been pretty quiet during the whole Stamkos fiasco. If I were to don an NHL jersey it would be of the blue and white variety, but I try to keep a level head when projecting where the Leafs will go with respect to trades, free agency, draft etc. Burke has clearly upgraded over last year’s squad already. With the addition of Connolly at center and the whisperings that Lombardi may be close to a return, the center position should be promisingly deep. With what may be one of the best top 6 defensemen in the league they are expecting a step from the backend this coming season as well. But.. And yes, there’s always a but. Will Steven Stamkos be wearing any maple leaf other than a red one any time soon? Probably not... If you were him why would u choose Toronto over any one of the alternatives? Yes Burke can probably offer just as sweet a deal contractually (via offer sheet) as anyone else, however the Leafs are arguably nowhere near the skill level of some of the other offering parties. So why would you choose to go to a weaker team? I can only think of a very few reasons. He really buys the whole, we have something going here, we’re young, fast and we are going to surprise. Maybe he thinks he just may be one of the final pieces. I doubt this because I think they need more then Stamkos to win. Although he obviously makes things look interesting. He could also want to come and play closer to home in front of friends and family being as he is from Markham Ontario which is basically the center of Leafs Nation.
There is no question Steve Stamkos is going to be a star wherever he goes and Toronto would certainly not be an exception. I just don’t see it materialising. If it did it would cost them Luke Schenn almost for certain. Although I believe you give whatever you have to if you have the opportunity to acquire a player the calibre of Stamkos, Luke Schenn would be hard to send packing. Is he a deal breaker? Probably not for me but I suggest… it would be awful hard to put him in the deal. Then you throw in a prospect like Kadri... a couple 1st round picks and maybe even a 2nd. Then you would still likely have to throw in another NHL ready player. Is all of that too much? I’m not quite sure. I guess if you get Stamkos in a trade such as that and are able to sign him to a lengthy contract then you are a winner. I doubt Burke will go over 5 years, which may actually be a plus in the eyes of camp Stamkos. It would mean he would be a UFA far sooner than if he were to sign a long term deal in LA or elsewhere. Toronto’s annual dollars would certainly be higher than anything the Lightning could table as well. Burke could technically dwarf the 5 yr. $37million offered by Tampa previously.
It’s all fun to talk about and is very possible but it’s one of those things that are just not likely to happen. Yet… you never really know... do you.