Is Steven Stamkos a fit for the Canucks in free agency?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
12 days ago
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A big name has entered the free agency mix.
Longtime Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be testing free agency come July 1st. Back in 2016, all signs were pointing to Stamkos becoming a UFA, but he and Tampa Bay were able to come to an agreement mere hours before free agency opened. Now, it appears that the two sides are at an impasse, meaning that one of the best goal-scorers of his generation will become a free agent. As the Vancouver Canucks look to add another piece to its top six, does Stamkos bring what they are looking for?
The 34-year-old hasn’t really shown too many signs of aging production-wise. This past year, Stamkos recorded yet another 40-goal season for a total of 81 points in 79 games. However, as every dynasty does, Tampa showed signs of weakness this year, which saw Stamkos post a career-worst -21 in 2023-24. While still listed as a centre, Stamkos has been appearing on the Bolts’ top line as a winger frequently lately and has put together productive years next to Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that a player like Stamkos could slot in nicely with Elias Pettersson and offer a consistent, elite shooting threat off his wing.
It would be an interesting reunion for Stamkos with his second-ever NHL coach, Rick Tocchet, who took over in Tampa Bay in the 2008-09 season for his first head coaching gig. “He gave me a shot and worked with me, saw the potential, gave me an opportunity, and I can’t thank him enough for that coming into this league. I owe a lot to him because he taught me a lot,” Stamkos said in an interview in 2019.
Adding Stamkos would also help bolster the struggling power play, adding a consistent shooting threat from the left side of the ice. While JT Miller enjoys rolling downhill on the left, having a one-time option would give the special teams an additional threat and a bit more potency than the unit has seen in previous years. Having his leadership presence in the locker room and his experience in multiple Stanley Cup runs that ended good and bad would be an intangible that not many could bring either.
However, as great as Stamkos is, the fit might not be perfect. For all his shooting prowess and power play abilities, he’s no longer the 5v5 force that he once was. While the Canucks don’t necessarily need him to be, it certainly detracts a little from the lustre that he might have commanded. With Vancouver hoping to up their transition chances, having someone who isn’t the fastest anymore or one who plays much of a rush game could drag them down a bit. Stamkos is also 34 years old; when will the decline hit for him?
It’ll depend on the price tag and term, too. Stamkos is projected to get $6.16 million for three years by AFP analytics, and while that’s definitely cheaper than the tag given to Jake Guentzel, it also comes with the fact that Stamkos is 5 years older. If the Canucks were to sign him, it would be essential to get the number and length right, lest he regresses, and that becomes an unfortunate contract to move.
Currently, it is rumoured that Vancouver will not be in the conversation for Stamkos. However, if they lose out on the Guentzel sweepstakes, he’s definitely not a bad option to be looking at. Getting a free agent contract hammered out that isn’t an overpay will be difficult, especially with the pedigree that Stamkos commands. But adding someone like him for the right price and length could be a (temporary) fix for a winger to pair with Pettersson — one that can score on a wide-open net.
Stamkos became available because the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t have the necessary salary cap space to retain their long-term captain. However, with two draft day trades — sending Mikhail Sergachev to the Utah Hockey Club and Tanner Jeannot to the Los Angeles Kings — the Lightning cleared up $11.165M of cap space and suddenly has room to potentially sign Steven Stamkos.
What do you think, Canucks fans? Do you want to see the Canucks target Stamkos if he makes it to free agency? Let us know in the comment section below!

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