Is Steven Stamkos going to be a New York Islander come July 1st? Well if you have a copy of the latest NHL video game, then yes he will be. It's time to address this rumor going around in regards to the one who will be the top UFA this summer. Well, more like bury this rumor that for whatever reason won't go away.
It began not long ago by Eklund, the annonyms one who runs hockeybuzz.com and posts his batch of rumors. He posted an article saying that Stamkos was going to be pursued aggressively by a number teams, but the one team who would make him their number one priority was none other than the New York Islanders. He stated that his inside sources from within the organization revealed John Tavares is the one pushing management to sign Stamkos.
Let's look at this from reality's standpoint, shall we. It makes no sense financially to sign Stamkos, who will be getting between 9-10 million per year over the course of 7 years. The Islanders won't be able to afford him since they'll have to focus on keeping their franchise centerman John Tavares 2 years from now when he becomes UFA. And he will be getting roughly the same money and years Toews and Kane got from the Blackhawks, and that Stamkos will this summer. The Islanders do need offensive help in the worst way, but they need it in the from of a winger for Tavares. Something they would've gotten in the form of possibly one of Edmonton's prized wingers in Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle had Travis Hamonic didn't pull his trade request.
The Isles also need to decide on which of their free agents to bring back. Kyle Okposo is most likely gone, but again with Hamonic now staying, they might consider bringing back Okposo. However I believe he will be gone, since he is asking for betweens 6-7 million per year. I wouldn't pay that much for a guy who is tends to be a bit inconsistent scoring wise at times. Okposo has also been invisible for the most part in the playoffs 2 years straight. His skating is also suspect. Okposo is 28, and he'll get what he wants but it'll be somewhere else. Frans Nielsen is likely to return. The 32 year old is the longest tenured Islander and the last draft pick remaining of the Milbury error, I mean era. He loves being an Islander and wants to stay. But he will test the market. Matt Martin is the other UFA who has been a heart and soul player since day 1. He to will be courted by a number of teams come July 1st. I'd be shocked if the Isles let him walk.
So with the busiest summer in many years for the Islanders vastly approaching, I can say this to you. Steven Stamkos will not be a New York Islander when the puck drops in october. While it's nice to dream about having 2 of the top picks in 2008 and 2009 as your biggest weapons down the middle for the foreseeable future, it just doesn't make sense financially when you have a salary cap to worry about. The Lightning will do everything they can to keep the face of their franchise. And Tampa is built to go deep in the playoffs for a long time. The Islanders however will have to focus on the trade front in order to bring in a winger for Tavares. His best years are being wasted without a top flight winger. They have a plethora of prospects to use (which they must), and can also dangle their 1st round pick at next month's draft.
Now go ahead and bury that Stamkos to the Isles rumor 6 feet deep with just about every other nonsense rumor Eklund has come up with over the years that never had any traction. It is nice to dream though of having another superstar player on your team. At least when it actually makes sense. But don't worry, this little dream can happen. All you have to do is get a copy of NHL 16, and be an armchair GM. And your dream will come true. As for those in the real world, Stamkos is going nowhere but to the nearest bank in Tampa Bay to count the money Steve Yzerman is gonna give him.