Dr. Milhouse suggests trading Stamkos may reap long term gain

Ladies and gents, back by popular demand, the ever-controversial Dr. Milhouse…

Last week, I wrote an article about the joy of shouting for the team I grew up with: The Lightning. Now, I come to speak the unspeakable.

The Bolts should consider trading Steven Stamkos.

Succeeding long-term in the NHL requires shrewd movement under the salary cap. Next year is the last year of Stamkos’ contract. The Lightning are currently about 3 million below the cap It’ll be about 6 million when they get an exemption, because Mattias Ohlund will never play again (the Bolts have to pay him, but they get an exemption under the cap for his salary).

So, with that six million, you can either re-sign Stamkos to a long-term deal at a huge number–we’ll say 8.5 million a year. He currently makes 7.5, so that brings the cap space down to 5 million. You have to partition that five million out for extended deals for Hedman (who will want a big pay hike when his contract ends), Johnson, Kucherov, Palat, Killorn…all of whom have deals that end in two years. You run out of cap space quickly factoring those contracts in.

StamkosAlternatively, trading Stamkos provides a load of cap room to re-sign the young up & coming starters, and the opportunity to gouge another team for its young stars and a load of draft picks. Imagine getting a top defenseman and a young forward, plus a 1st round draft pick, for essentially giving up Stamkos for 3 months.

Now, of course, there are two downsides to that. The first, obviously, is you lose one of the top five players in the league. But in a league where one player can command over ten percent of the salary cap, you have to decide if you want one amazing player, or five great players.Sure, Chicago has Kane and Toews, but those two are going to eat up over 30% of cap space for two players.

The second, and perhaps more importantly, is the PR problem. The Lightning have cut off the face of their franchise in two of the last three years, letting Vincent Lecavalier leave for nothing and sending Marty St. Louis to New York in the Callahan deal. Can the Lightning and their front office afford to send away their third big star in four years? If the result means the Triplet Line stays together for years to come, is it worth it?

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7 Replies to “Dr. Milhouse suggests trading Stamkos may reap long term gain”

  1. Yes, very much so. This team succeeds thanks to every player, not thanks to one amazing player. It would be more stupid to lose the chemistry that Tyler Johnson, Kucherov, Palat and Killorn have together. They also need to keep the trememdous help they get from Filppula and Jonathan Drouin, instead of Stamkos.

  2. Here’s my take on the good doctor’s piece and it’s probably in line with both of you, Milhouse and Greg, sort of.

    Locking yourselves into one player might handcuff what the franchise can do with the rest of its roster. I trust that Stevie Y and Stevie Stammer will work things out keeping the good of the franchise in mind.


    I also know this.

    In the NBA, and I know they’re different sports, sex sells. NBA franchises don’t fly without names. How many recent NBA teams have won a championship or even contended without a super star?

    Can a hockey team afford to get rid of its biggest name and still be a draw, and more importantly still contend?

  3. Yes, if it makes the team better down the road.

    It’s about the name of the front of the jersey, not the back.

  4. In the NBA, it seems guys who are drafted already have a starting job. In the NHL, it seems guys who are drafted are “some time away.” I am not sure trading one of the top five guys in the league is worth the gamble. In Philadelphia, we certainly can identify with teams caught in cap issues…and it is a shame we lost pro basketball in this city in the process…but I would be cautious about trading a superstar for “picks” in hockey. However, if you are getting a starter or two in return who is on the younger side now you have something. Worth taking a peek at because indeed, if the team is awesome they will come…regardless of the name(s).

  5. Lost professional basketball in Philadelphia. Nice zing, Burnsy.

    Okay, here’s what I do know and I think I mentioned this in an earlier comment. Trade away (or lose) a superstar in the NBA and you’re fucked. Too much market value. Means too much to the team. Look what happened to Cleveland and then Miami when LeBron left.

    Stammer is no LeBron but he ain’t bad. But does he have the draw? I can tell you there’s more Stammer shirts being sold than anyone else’s in this area BUT Lightning fans also recognized the greatness of this TEAM.

    I think while they’d hate to see him go, they (we) have faith that Steve Yzerman is perfectly capable of making the right roster moves in keeping this team competitive… whatever it takes.

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