We’re less than 48 hours away from the opening of unrestricted free agency. Unsurprisingly, Steven Stamkos dominates today’s hockey headlines.

Leafs meet with Steven Stamkos (Simmons)

Relevant from 2014:

“I am excited to be joining Sport Chek and the Canadian Tire family of companies. As a kid growing up in Canada, I know how Canadians admire and trust the brands,” said Steven Stamkos. “It is my hope that by working with Sport Chek, we will be able to inspire millions of Canadians to live healthy, active lifestyles and gain all the positives that come from sport.”

Signing with Leafs would mean big endorsement payday for Stamkos, marketers say (Westhead)

“He’d be on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday,” Harkness said, adding that if Stamkos plays in Toronto, it would also make filming commercials and negotiating personal appearances easier for marketers.

“The deals for players have just always been better with the Leafs,” Stellick said. “When Darryl Sittler went to play with the Flyers, his deal with Sher-Wood hockey sticks was less than it was in Toronto. He said to Sher-Wood, ‘I’m still Darryl Sittler.’ They said, ‘But you’re not playing for the Leafs anymore.’”

Ken Holland discusses Red Wings’ interest in Stamkos (TSN1050)

Landsberg: People have different opinions about how much you could go, with a $73-74 million salary cap, without compromising your position. Could you ever see yourself paying a player $12 million a year?

Holland: I’m not sure that you can make it work. Obviously it’s a team sport. You need a nucleus of about six to ten players. I think the good teams have a nucleus of about six to ten players. If those six to ten players command so much of the cap that all you’re doing with the back half of the roster is having million dollar players, I don’t know if you can put together a program. Certainly there are teams out there that have got 10 million dollar players. When you don’t have a 10 million dollar player, I sort of look from afar and try to determine if that is the way you should go or the way you shouldn’t go.

Who has the best chance at winning the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes? (Mirtle)

Chances Stamkos becomes a Leaf: 30 per cent. The Leafs will try hard, but there are different opinions internally on how high they can afford to go on a contract. It’s unlikely Toronto will table the richest deal, but Shanahan has proved to be a good salesman, and he can offer Stamkos something no one else can: The chance to be captain of his hometown team.

Blood clot shouldn’t scare teams from Steven Stamkos, doctors say (Armstrong)

Local experts say Stamkos’s situation is unique. Unlike those athletes, his blood clot was due to a mechanical issue, rather than a blood disorder.

“When we all raise our arms above our head, we close down the angle in the vein draining our arm, between our collarbone and our first rib,” said Dr. Thomas Forbes, a vascular surgeon at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. “Some people develop what’s called venous thoracic outlet syndrome, where they present with a blood clot in their arm, typically their dominant arm.”

Forbes, who is not involved with Stamkos’s case, believes repetitive trauma from the swing action behind his right-handed shot could have contributed to the clot.

How much is Steven Stamkos actually worth? (Vollman)

Modern advances in statistical hockey analysis make it possible to estimate a player’s overall contributions, and to measure that in terms of goals, points and even cap space. From this perspective, Stamkos’ performance warrants a hefty increase from last year’s cap hit of $7.5 million, but can’t justify a league-high cap hit of $10.5 million — or more.

Steven Stamkos has the NHL world at his feet (Wharnsby)

Still, the Lightning may have the upper hand. General manager Steve Yzerman reportedly has an eight-year deal on the table that would pay Stamkos an average of $8.5 million US per season. That’s likely as high as Yzerman will go because he still has to fit prized restricted free agent Nikita Kucherov under the salary cap.

But while other teams may offer more annually, Tampa Bay is the only club that can sign Stamkos for eight years. The max for others is seven. Plus, his earnings in Tampa Bay are tax-free because Florida does not have a state income tax.


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