It’s the number one NHL betting odds question of the offseason, and one that will undoubtedly impact Stanley Cup Futures lines. Which team will Steven Stamkos play for during the 2016-2017 NHL season- will he stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning or will he be traded to another team?
NHL Free Agency – Bet on Hockey Futures
Steve Stamkos is the best free agent to hit the open market in decades. He’s a former 50-goal scorer and he has 312 career goals and counting. He’s 26 years old and right in the prime of his career. He’s a franchise player and one you can build a championship team around. A perfect player to make or break your NHL future bets.
But, as is the case with players of his ilk, they cost a whole lot of money. Possibly upwards of $10 million a year type of money. So, only a handful of teams can really go out and make an aggressive pitch for one of the league’s top snipers. Let’s break down who those teams are and what their chances are.
NHL Free Agency – Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
The incumbent team has the advantage of offering one more year than anyone else, but unfortunately for them they can offer the least amount of money per year. With Victor Hedman, Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Kucherov, and Tyler Johnson all due for new contracts, the Bolts can’t afford to pay Stamkos 10 million per year. This is a huge problem as the other three teams on this list can offer big bucks and a closer proximity to his home province of Ontario in Canada.
Tampa Bay is the best team on this list, but it’s inability to pay him the type of money he needs means he’s unlikely to stay unless he chooses to take a pay cut. Chances of signing Stamkos: 10%
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines and Odds – NHL Free Agency
Stamkos’ hometown team just struck gold in the NHL draft by nabbing future star, Auston Matthews. The Toronto Maple Leafs, after years of futility, appear to be on the rise. If there was ever a time to buy low with the Leafs, now would be the time. They have a ton of money, the lure of hockey’s biggest market, and of course, they’re the hometown team for Stamkos.
The Leafs are currently the worst team on this list and may not even make the playoffs until year 2 or 3 of the Stamkos deal. Does he have the patience for that? Chances of signing Stamkos: 25%
Buffalo Sabres Odds – NHL Futures
The Buffalo Sabres have done a great job of building their core as they have several elite young players in the fold. Buffalo can offer a ton of money, but they have to be wary about giving all their money to Stamkos and not having enough for the likes of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.
Buffalo, like the Leafs, have been bottom dwellers for the past few seasons but are certainly on the way up. Stamkos could be the piece that puts them over the top – even if they have a suspect D-core and goaltending. Chances of signing Stamkos: 25%
Detroit Red Wings Lines and Odds – Hockey Bonuses
The Detroit Red Wings have quite a bit to offer – close proximity to home, a competitive playoff team, a 1-2 punch of Stamkos and Dylan Larkin for the next decade, and a glaring need for a No. 1 centre. The Wings are reported to be all-in on Stamkos after ditching Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million contract on Arizona last week.
The Wings, outside of Tampa, offer the best chance of winning immediately and have the cap space to go north of $10 million per season. The Wings like their chances, but they still haven’t been given an indication one way or the other if they’re indeed favorites to land the NHL’s biggest fish. Chances of signing Stamkos: 40%
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