Yzerman and Stamkos ensure Lightning will have an extended stay at top of the NHL

Steven Stamkos  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

We can only assume that Steven Stamkos’ agents aren’t terribly excited at the moment. His accountants? Well, since there’s no state tax in Florida and Stamkos will earn an average salary of $8.5 million each of the next eight years, well, that should make them fairly happy. We know fans in Toronto are a little down, as they probably are in Detroit, Montreal and Buffalo, too.

But Steven Stamkos is happy and that is the most important part of the equation. And it’s why, despite a year-long soap opera that accounted for a petrified forest worth of newsprint and countless gigabits in cyberspace, he decided to stay with the only NHL team he has ever known. As first reported by Bob McKenzie at TSN and confirmed by thn.com, Stamkos has agreed to an eight-year deal with the Lightning totaling $68 million. The deal involves a full no-movement clause, which means Stamkos isn’t going anywhere unless he approves of the deal.

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Here are the need-to-know picks from the CHL Import Draft

Filip Hronek (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The CHL Import Draft establishes major junior rights for European players and it’s never a dull process. Because the kids picked are under no pressure to come over here, it’s never just a matter of Best Player Available. And since junior teams all have different rebuilding/contending cycles, sometimes BPA is irrelevant anyway. Some have already been drafted by NHL teams; other younger picks are hoping to boost their stock for upcoming drafts. Each CHL franchise gets two picks, but some pass because they are already set with their quota of two imports. With another draft in the books, let’s take a look at some of the most important names that were called today.

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Rumor Roundup: All eyes on Steven Stamkos as free agency approaches

Steven Stamkos  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the 2016 NHL draft now history, here’s a look at some notable speculation that emerged from the weekend.

All eyes are firmly upon the Tampa Bay Lightning and their contract talks with pending unrestricted free agent center Steven Stamkos. Since Friday evening, he and his fellow UFAs can speak to rival clubs.

It’s believed Lightning GM Steve Yzerman pitched an eight-year offer to Stamkos worth $8.5 million annually. If Stamkos feels he can do better on the open market, he won’t lack for suitors.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Yzerman said he’ll keep all options open regarding Stamkos. He didn’t rule out the possibility of a sign-and-trade.

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Best picks by round on Day 2 of the draft

Carter Hart (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – On Day 2 of the draft, team preference plays such a huge role in when kids get picked. But for my money, there were some definite winners by round. In some cases, it was teams that made solid multiple selections. In other cases, it was a matter of the value they got in one player. Here are my winners for Day 2.

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How Jakob Chychrun might have helped the Red Wings land Steven Stamkos

Jacob Chychrun. (Getty Images)

BUFFALO – A week from Friday night, we’ll almost certainly find out what the future holds for Steven Stamkos. But when all the dust settles, don’t be surprised if it turns out the fact that Jakob Chychrun’s stock plummeted in the draft had a huge effect on the situation.

Here’s why. With Chychrun still available when the Detroit Red Wings were picking 16th, Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka finally found a trade partner willing to give up his pick so Chayka could choose Chychrun. The Coyotes are thin on defense among their prospects, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take Clayton Keller with the seventh overall pick. Chayka was convinced Chychrun wouldn’t still be available when they picked next in the first round in the No. 20 slot.

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Rumor Roundup: Latest on Campbell, Stamkos, Malkin, Fleury, Shattenkirk and more

Brian Campbell (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

As the 2016 NHL draft draws near, trade activity is picking up. On Monday, the Anaheim Ducks shipped goaltender Frederik Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two draft picks, the New York Rangers dealt defenseman Keith Yandle‘s rights to the Florida Panthers, while the Nashville Predators dealt the rights of college prospect Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Panthers acquisition of Yandle’s rights makes sense if Brian Campbell departs via free agency on July 1. The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports Panthers GM Tom Rowe expects Campbell, 37, to test the market.

It also douses recent trade speculation involving Panthers blueliner Dmitry Kulikov. The Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov claims the Panthers frequently get inquiries about the 24-year-old blueliner but he’s not on the trade block.

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Red Wings GM Holland says Mrazek is his starter, but sees reason to keep Howard

Jared Clinton
Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Already dealing with the departure of Pavel Datsyuk, the Detroit Red Wings have another major contract issue to deal with — that of goaltender Jimmy Howard.

The veteran netminder has been a major piece of the Red Wings for several seasons, but the emergence of youngster Petr Mrazek combined with Howard’s sizeable $5.29-million cap hit has become problematic for Detroit.

When Mrazek was still on his entry-level deal or his second, team-friendly contract, the combined cap hit of the netminders wasn’t an issue. It’s about to become one with Mrazek due a big raise as a restricted free agent, though. Mrazek’s new deal could carry a cap hit between $4-5 million per season, which would put Detroit under a cap crunch, especially if GM Ken Holland is hoping to add pieces to his roster in the off-season.

Overpaying for Howard is an issue, too, especially with Holland prepared to hand the starting job to Mrazek. Yet Holland seems somewhat uneasy about the goaltender’s ability to be a workhorse in the way other starting netminders are, which could extend Howard’s stay in Detroit. Read more