Lightning, Stamkos not rushing to negotiate contract extension

Reinhold Matay / Reuters

While signing Steven Stamkos to a contract extension remains a priority for the Tampa Bay Lightning this offseason, talks have yet to begin.

Stamkos is set to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract with a $7.5 million cap hit expires at the end of next season. According to Stamkos's agent Don Meehan, there is no timetable for negotiations with Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

"I don't think we have any criteria on timing, at this point in time," Meehan told TSN in an interview. "I've mentioned to Steve Yzerman that we're going to have a meeting with Steven, and then once we've had the meeting with Steven then I can go back to Steve."

Meehan says Stamkos is getting acclimatized to the offseason and doing his training in Toronto. The Lightning captain was previously quoted as saying he's not losing sleep over the impending negotiations, which explains his lack of urgency.

The delay in starting negotiations allows both sides to use other recent deals as comparables. St. Louis Blues' restricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko recently signed an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $7.5 million, while the eight-year, $84-million extensions Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both signed last season kicked in on July 1.

Lightning, Stamkos not rushing to negotiate contract extension
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