During a conference call after the NHL draft with Boston media, Don Sweeney dropped a subtle bombshell:
Without saying it explicitly, Sweeney intimates Bruins will call about Stamkos (and pretty much everyone).— DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) June 25, 2016
Today, the Lightning GM responded:
The Bruins are rarely huge players at the start of the free agency period -- usually because they've spent or will eventually spend close to the cap. This year, however, with $21M in cap space, there are options. One of those options might be Steven Stamkos, who had a cap hit of $7.5M/year during his last five-year contract - his first non-ELC contract. Stamkos will likely be looking for a raise on his next contract, with a length of likely upward of five years.
Here's some reasons why the Bruins might and might not be seriously considering adding Stamkos to the roster.
NO: He'll cost a billion dollars
Despite having a ton of cap room right now, the Bruins need to keep the future in mind. Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner are all free agents next season, and Marchand and Pastrnak at least will likely be commanding significant raises. Tampa offered Stamkos a raise of $1M - which he turned down - it's speculated that he'd want somewhere in the range of $10-$11M/year, which is a lot of cap space to tie up in one player, even one as good as Stamkos.
YES: He's worth the billion dollars
The Bruins have not taken a chance on a superstar in forever. We can all rosterbate for a life age, but there's no avoiding the fact adding Stamkos makes the problems on defense look a lot less terrible, to be perfectly honest. Imagine Patrice Bergeron and Steven Stamkos as your 1A and 1B centers. David Krejci might be the only person in Boston unhappy about this. In fact, trade Krejci for a defenseman, and suddenly the future looks a hell of a lot brighter.
NO: Who wants to play in front of this defense?
Stamkos can, presumably, read. The aging corpse of Zdeno Chara and the half-bionic soma of Dennis Seidenberg is not exactly the most appealing situation to have behind you.
YES: We have options (and he's been here before)
seeing some takes about how that'd impair our ability to get a top 2 defenseman. fret not. with stamkos as 1C, we can move bergy to defense— petite peste (@mean_63) June 27, 2016
Joking aside, signing Stamkos opens up a lot of options. The Bruins could trade Krejci for a viable defenseman, several of which are available at the moment. Krejci for Kevin Shattenkirk, anyone?
Additionally, while the Lightning have been stingy in their goal allowance for the last several years, that hasn't always been the case. For several years of Stamkos' tenure with Tampa, that team was allowing almost as many goals as they scored - luckily they were able to outpace themselves. If the other teams calling about Stamkos are Boston - who has a record of being able to figure their shit out on the blueline when possible, or the Leafs, who have been a tirefire in their own end for the rememberable past? I'm taking Boston, regardless of Matthews hype, every time.
Let's speculate! If the Bruins acquired Stamkos, how would you like to see the forwards line up?