Steven Stamkos may very well become a Toronto Maple Leaf. It’s certainly possible that on July 1, 2016, Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello announce that Steven Stamkos has signed a contract for seven years at $10 million per year, to play for the Maple Leafs.
Until July 1 however, Steven Stamkos will remain a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning (unless an unlikely trade of his exclusive negotiation rights occurs.) It’s also entirely possible that he signs a contract extension with Tampa Bay. He has had great success in Florida.
Let’s just say, for discussion purposes, that the Toronto Maple Leafs (and their fans) haven’t decided whether or not they want to sign Steven Stamkos. Looking at the team holistically, from a business standpoint, hockey success perspective, and fan satisfaction point of view, what are the reasons why the Toronto Maple Leafs should sign Stamkos?
There are certainly more than a handful of reasons why Toronto should ink Stamkos as soon as possible. Just the same, there are some reasons why the Maple Leafs might be better plunking their money down elsewhere. As we can only make an educated guess about what the future will hold, some of these reasons are “two sides of the same coin,” so to speak.
In reality, the positives of signing Stamkos far outweigh any potential concerns, otherwise Tampa Bay wouldn't be so interested in re-signing the star centerman. Really, who wouldn't want him on their team? But let's look at both sides of the discussion, for the sake of fun.
Here are the Top 8 Reasons The Toronto Maple Leafs Should And 8 Reasons They Shouldn't Sign Him.
16 Should - He’s A Hometown Boy
Hailing from Markham, Ontario, Steven Stamkos would be playing close to home in the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs certainly aren’t hurting for attendance. Still, having a local hero playing for Toronto couldn’t hurt the team. The media would just eat it up if Stamkos played for Toronto. He’d be on the front page of the Toronto Sun every other day. And as the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad press.”
15 Shouldn't - It Will Break The Bank
How much is Steven Stamkos expected to earn on his next contract? His cap hit is 17th overall in the NHL as of now. It will most likely be in the top five when he inks his new contract. That means his cap hit will be near $10 million annually. That is about one-seventh of the entire team’s cap. The Leafs are projected to have just over $10 million in cap room for next season, and that’s without taking into consideration filling holes left by free agents leaving the team. How will they be able to afford Steven Stamkos? Much will need to change on the roster, and even if it does, it leaves Toronto very little room to make further acquisitions.
14 Should - Toronto Could Use The Scoring
It’s an obvious assertion, but the Maple Leafs need to put the puck in the net more often. Toronto does have some players who can score well at the NHL level. Nazem Kadri is coming along nicely and James van Riemsdyk, when healthy, can do his fair share of scoring. But Stamkos is a sniper on another level. Over the past five regular seasons, only Alexander Ovechkin has scored more goals than Stamkos. Could Toronto use that kind of production? They sure could.
13 Shouldn't - It's Not About One Player
Hockey, especially at the highest professional level, is a collaborative sport. A group of players combining to put the puck in the net and prevent it from entering their own. It all comes back to the team and coaching. If you have a great team and coach, you can win it all. Toronto already opened their vault to land the great coach in Mike Babcock. One great offensive player doesn't make the full team.
12 Should - He Can Handle The Spotlight
Sure, the Maple Leafs could go after another scorer. But would that player be able to handle the spotlight that comes with playing in Toronto? Steven Stamkos can. He grew up in the Toronto area, accustomed to the volume of media which surrounds the sport of hockey in Ontario. As a former number one overall draft pick, he’s already been subject to an onslaught of cameras and microphones in his face.
11 Shouldn't - Most Recent Scoring Pace
10 Should - Leadership
9 Shouldn't - Fit and Chemistry
8 Should - Merchandising
7 Shouldn't - Opportunity Cost
6 Should - Tutelage of Auston Matthews
5 Shouldn't - To Win The Cup
4 Should - To Win The Cup
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a rebuild. That much is well known. They jettisoned their captain earlier in 2016 for salary cap reasons by trading defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators. They have been stockpiling draft picks through some smaller trades as well. Now, they have the number one overall draft pick after finishing last in the NHL standings and “winning” the draft lottery.
3 Shouldn't - To Make Leafs Fans Happy…..Long Term
2 Should - To Make Leafs Fans Happy!
Regardless of what happens after Steven Stamkos gets to Toronto, just getting him to the city will make Maple Leafs fans ecstatic. The excitement around Stamkos becoming a Maple Leaf will border on the elation of winning a playoff round. Toronto has been waiting for a savior on the ice. They’ve landed the team management they wanted in Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello. The head coach they sought is now behind the bench in Mike Babcock. Now it’s time for them to land the player they need and want in Steven Stamkos. Make Stamkos a Maple Leaf and you make Toronto fans happy. Bring Steven home!
1 Shouldn't - To Afford A Star Goaltender Under The Cap
Both Ben Bishop and Ryan Miller are set to become free agents after next season. Would the Leafs do better, over the long haul, to solidify their net? The goaltender position is one you absolutely must get right. Jonathan Bernier has been good in net for Toronto recently. The Maple Leafs might want to make a big splash and go for Ben Bishop though. Bishop led the NHL with a 2.06 GAA in 2015-16. Over the long run, which player would provide the most value to the team as a whole? A first-line star center in Stamkos, or a brick-wall goaltender like Bishop who is on-ice for nearly 60 minutes in 60 or more games a season?
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