The rumor that the Flyers were interested in Steven Stamkos seemingly came out of thin air soon after fans perceived that the Flyers had some cap space and weren’t opposed to taking drastic measures to revamp the team this offseason. The rumors spread so rapidly that the line between fact and fiction soon blurred.
To find out if there was any legitimacy to these rumors, I asked Erik Erlendsson, a Lightning beat writer for the Tampa Bay Tribune to respond to some of the ideas that have been floated around recently. We also discussed the future of former Flyer, Simon Gagne.
I have a lot of respect for Erlendsson, who has been bombarded with countless repetitive questions on Twitter over the last few days but still took the time out of his busy schedule to add a dose of realism to the Stamkos situation. Here is the interview:
Is there any legitimate reason to believe the Lightning will not be able to re-sign Steven Stamkos?
You can never say never in this league, but I do not see a scenario in which the Lightning will allow Steven Stamkos to go to another team. Any other belief from another team that Stamkos will be allowed to walk away is merely false hope.
Would Steve Yzerman match any offer sheet that came in for Stamkos? How much does Tampa Bay’s financial situation come into play here?
Tampa Bay is prepared to match any offer sheet a team may push Stamkos’ way. The franchise is not in any kind of a financial situation problem, so that does not factor into the decision as to whether or not Stamkos returns.
Is trading Stamkos a possibility? If so, what pieces would it take for the Flyers to be considered serious players?
Trading Stamkos is not a possibility, so trying to speculate on what pieces it might take would be a valuable waste of cyberspace.
Is it true that the Lightning will not re-sign Simon Gagne? Why not?
I believe he was brought in with the idea of a one-year “trial” so to speak and Gagne never quite fulfilled expectations. Most of that was due to injury suffered originally in preseason and made worse during the first month of the season. He never really got on track until the last month or so of the season. Having said that, the decision to bring him back is not necessarily performance based but more of what it might take to sign him again rather than how he played.
At this stage of his career, what do you think Gagne can realistically contribute to a team?
Gagne still has great speed and scoring instincts, he’s a great presence in the dressing room and is solid defensively. As long as he remains healthy he can bring all of this to his game. Will he be a 40-goal scorer again? I think it’s possibly but he certainly has the touch and the net smarts to be an effective goal scorer. After all, he is still only 31 years old and hardly washed up.
What do you think it would cost a team to sign Gagne?
Not being in the agent business, it’s hard to put a number on his situation. If I were to take a guess, I’d say somewhere just under what he made this season, which was $5.25 million. But, depending on where he went, it might be a little less (like say Philadelphia?)
You can follow Erik Erlendsson on Twitter for any breaking Lightning news.