TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Loyalty, respect and the potential to win for years to come kept Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay.
The Lightning captain said Thursday that he followed his heart in re-signing with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2008 rather than testing free agency, where he likely would have commanded much more than the $68 million he’s due to earn over the next eight seasons.
“Some people when they’re in this position chase, obviously, the most money possible,” the two-time NHL scoring champion said during a conference call.
“For me, I realize the situation and understood that there could have been some money left out there. But for me, that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about going to an organization that I was comfortable with, and something that gave me the best chance to win in my mind,” Stamkos added.
“It was a very tough decision. It truly was. I can’t sit here and say this past week has been fun. … It was pretty stressful, to be honest. I’m glad it’s over with.”
A person with direct knowledge of how the contract is structured said Stamkos will make $9.5 million in each of the first five…