No player has scored more goals in the NHL over the past two years than Steven Stamkos. Today, Stamkos got his reward as he signed a 5 year deal for $37.5 million with his Tampa Bay Lightning. The first thing to note is the lack of a ridiculous length on the contract engineered by Steve Yzerman. Beyond that, something got me thinking – Is Stamkos worth a $7.5m cap hit? Well the answer isn’t necessarily as obvious as you may believe.
Right now, Stamkos is absolutely worth his new deal but will he still score the goals as frequently when he loses one of the very best playmaking wingers in the league in Marty St Louis to eventual retirement? That’s a big question and may be a reason behind the length of the Stamkos deal. Maybe Tampa wants to see how Stamkos does minus his wingman before re-upping him again and maybe they learnt from the ugly deal they gave Vinny Lecavalier?
At 36 years of age St Louis is still one of the very best players in the league but he will likely be retired when Stamkos’ deal expires in 5 years. The diminutive winger is an elite set-up man; having notched at least 50 assists every season since 2006. Back to Stamkos; the goal scoring center thrives off the quality service he gets and is able to use that wicked shot of his, something that will remain long after St Louis is gone. However, will Stamkos get to use his shot the same way he does now, minus the elite service? That remains to be seen.
One the reason Rangers fans should be happy with the arrival of Brad Richards is the fact he has proven he can thrive with different players and on different teams. His success has never been linked to any one player too much. Richards has had elite seasons in both Tampa and Dallas and it can be argued that Richards is a type that makes players around him better rather than being a product of those on his line.
Naturally, Richards has benefitted from having good line mates along the way but whereas previous big ticket recruits may have benefitted from their previous surroundings rather than thriving because of their own game (Holik in the Devils defensive system, Redden on a stacked Ottawa blue line etc, etc) Richards has done it as the main guy at two different clubs – another reason his contract can be justified.