Steven Stamkos' demands are too much for the Canucks

In theory Steven Stamkos is just what the Vancouver Canucks need to bolster their top-six, but his apparent salary expectations are too much to justify.
Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning
Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

The Vancouver Canucks are looking for a quality winger to add to their top-six, while Steven Stamkos is set to go to free agency on Monday. (Yes, Stamkos is still officially a centre, but he has plenty of experience playing on the wing recently.) Could a match between the two sides be just what the Doctor ordered?

In theory, the answer should be a resounding yes, particularly given Stamkos' resume. He has two Stanley Cups, a couple of Rocket Richard Trophies, 555 career goals and seven All-Star selections.

Further, the 34-year-old doesn't appear to be slowing down, coming off a season which saw him score 40 goals (as well as another five in five playoff appearances). Overall he totalled 81 regular season points in 79 games, while his 58.8 Corsi For % in All Situations was tied for the third-best in his 16 seasons of NHL action.

However, it isn't all positive and light when it comes to Stamkos, with his -21 rating easily the worst of his NHL career. He's not as effective as he used to be at even strength, while his average ice time is trending in the wrong direction. (The only two times it was lower in his career, were his rookie season and 2016-17, when a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee limited him to 17 games.)

More positives than negatives but at what cost?

We would still contend though that overall, the 2008 first overall draft pick would be a good addition for the Canucks, but only at the right price. And really, this is where the main issue enters into the equation.

The Lightning did want Stamkos back and were prepared to offer him term, longer than the three years which has been projected. On the flip side though, as per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, the organisation was only offering an annual average of $3 million per season.

This represents a significant drop from Stamkos' expiring deal, with an annual average of $8.5 million. As much as he knew he would receive less money in his next deal, the apparent $3 million on offer represents a more than 50 percent decrease.

Tough for the Canucks to justify

As much as the Markham, Native would have preferred to stay in Tampa Bay, he knows he can likely make more from free agency, albeit for not as many years. However, this is why there is a challenge for the Cancucks in being able to justify making a move for him.

As per AFP Analytics, Stamkos is projected to get three years, for an average of just under $6.157 million. While the term is likely acceptable to general manager Patrik Allvin, the annual amount is not.

According to Cap Friendly, the Canucks have $12,040,833 of projected cap space remaining for next season. Add in the likely amount of $2.5 million for the final year Tucker Poolman's contract being on Long-Term Injured Reserve, and it's a healthy position for the organisation.

Also, of the four remaining pending free agents (and one restricted) still to be signed, neither Nikita Zadorov or Elias Lindholm will now be back in Vancouver next season. However, even though not getting either of them saves the Canucks a boatload of money, it's still tough to justify meeting Stamkos' apparent demands.

If the Canucks are to offer considerable money to a winger/forward, it stands to reason they will want to pay someone ideally (with all due respect) a fair bit younger than Stamkos. Pending free agents mentioned include Jake Guentzel and Sam Reinhart, albeit it's appreciated both will be in high demand around the league.

Next. Canucks GM showing the NHL how to build a winning team. Canucks GM showing the NHL how to build a winning team. dark

In respect of demand, or more to the point lack of, this is really the only way the Canucks could justify a move for Stamkos. However, it's unlikely that the rest of the NHL is going to similarly value him as low as the Lightning apparently do, so expect Allvin to continue looking elsewhere for that quality winger upgrade.

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