PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 18: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 18 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The Lightning defeated the Flyers 8-7. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Steven Stamkos could come to Philadelphia. He could be a Flyer. Like, it could actually happen.
We've been silent on the issue all week because there was so much information back and forth that it just seemed crazy, but we're starting to get a clearer picture of things now, with both Frank Seravalli and Anthony SanFilippo reporting similar things this afternoon.
So, first: the basics. Both reporters have said that if the Flyers do indeed decide to send Stamkos an offer sheet, it would be a $115 million deal over 12 years. That's about a $9.5 million cap hit until 2023 with a no-trade clause that would, by rule, not be able to kick in until 2017.
The Lightning can match the offer sheet, for starters. There are plenty of reports out there, most notably from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, saying that Bolts owner Jeff Vinik will certainly match any offer sheet on Stamkos. He only paid $110 million for the team when he bought them before last season, so it's pretty funny that this could be worth more than that -- but at the same time, he's a bazillionaire and has the money to match any offer.
There are a ton of pros and a ton of cons, so let's get right into them.
- It's Steven Stamkos. Come on now. Picture him on a line with Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk. Like, do it. It makes you cry, doesn't it? Happy, happy tears of joy.
- It'd be pretty funny if NHL 12 had to change its cover just a week after unveiling it.
- Even if the Flyers don't get Stamkos, the Lightning would be forced to match the offer, running up the price on Stamkos to an ridiculous number.
- Money? Whatever.
- He doesn't get that NTC until 2017, so if push came to shove, he could be traded if the Flyers were against a wall and things didn't work out. It's not as painful as the Chris Pronger trade in that regard, where it won't almost inevitably bite the team.
- Holy shit, that's a lot of money.
- Excuse me, but again, the Flyers can only spend $64.3 million on their team next year. If you're giving Stamkos more than $9 million of that and you're giving Ilya Bryzgalov $5.6 million and you're giving Danny Briere $6.5 million and you're giving Kimmo Timonen ... I mean, there's a point where the numbers just don't work. Again.
- You're giving up four first round picks to the Lightning as compensation. Four of them. One in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Yes, believe it or not, the Flyers have all of those picks to give, too.
- You're probably giving up a whooooole lot to get him. Not just the money, not just the picks. Current roster players. There's a cap, and somebody would have to go. Danny Briere? Some mix of a bunch of different players? Either way, you're probably opening up a hole somewhere else (defense, somewhere else up front), and you likely won't have the leftover cash to fill that hole.
- Say you go through the process, Tampa matches and you don't sign him. The process is going to drag out past July 1. The Lightning can mull the offer for seven days before matching, and seven days after July 1 is July 8, and in that case, with such a thin UFA market this year, the Flyers might not have any more options when it comes to filling out the holes they already have on the roster --- let alone any holes created by the moves necessary to get Stamkos.
That means that, in theory, the Flyers could send him an offer sheet, be stuck without the ability to do much for eight days because all of their eggs are in the Stamkos basket, and then he could just sign in Tampa anyway and we'd be screwed.
The bottom line is simple: every player has a price. Is this one worth it for Steven Stamkos?