By: Greg Krol
The Tampa Bay Lightning are at a crossroads as the offseason approaches. They need to make important choices that will affect the team’s future. Whether to re-sign captain Steven Stamkos, a player who has been linked to the Lightning for more than a decade, is one of the most important and emotional.
Stamkos, who has won the Richard Trophy twice and been an All-Star seven times, has been a big part of the Lightning’s success, helping them get to multiple Stanley Cup finals and win two titles. There is no doubt about his leadership, skill, or devotion to the team. He will go down in the club’s history as a great player. For the team’s long-term health, though, the Lightning need to make tough choices. Sometimes, emotions get in the way of those decisions.
The first thing to think about is how old and durable something is. Stamkos is now 33 years old. He has been adamant about getting better after injuries, but his body shows signs of wear and tear. It’s still a fast and physical league, and there’s a chance that re-signing Stamkos would mean the Lightning spending a lot of their salary cap on a player who might be unable to contribute at a high level for the whole length of his deal.
The Lightning must also consider the future and how their younger players can grow. There is a lot of talent on the team ready to be used. These players need more ice time and experience to reach their full potential. If the Lightning re-sign Stamkos, it might stop these younger players from taking on bigger roles, which could slow their growth, make them frustrated and make them want to leave the team.
There is also the matter of money to think about. When an NHL team spends money on a player, that money can’t be used for anything else. This is called the salary cap. Tampa Bay needs to be smart about how it uses its resources because the contracts of several other important players are up for renewal soon. Spending a lot of money on Stamkos could make it harder for the team to sign other players, making their total roster weaker.
Finally, Steven Stamkos has been a legendary player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the team needs to carefully consider the pros and cons of re-signing him this summer. There is a chance that it would be best for the team to let Stamkos go, even though it would be painful for fans and the organization alike. This is because of his age, continued player development, and the salary cap. The Lightning have a bright future ahead of them, and if they make the tough choices now, they might stay a contender for years to come.