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Insider Only Stamkos Talk, Kessel one and done in Pittsburgh?

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LOTS OF BUZZ CONTINUES TO SURROUND BUFFALO AND STAMKOS

Steven Stamkos won’t be traded. The Lightning made that clear yesterday.

“As February 29th approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL’s trade deadline. I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations.” — Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman in a released statement

Despite Yzerman’s statement, the Lightning are not close to resigning Stamkos and the odds are greater of him hitting the open market on July 1 and exploring his options than resigning with Tampa Bay before free agency begins.

There continues to be an infatuation of Stamkos going home to Toronto from fans and pundits but the team with the most noise around them from NHL execs is the Buffalo Sabres and that’s been the case for months now.

From Newport’s strong relationship with Sabres GM Tim Murray, to the the Sabres willing and able to structure a deal with a significant portion in signing bonuses, to Steven Stamkos wanting to feel to wanted, Buffalo continues to be the team flying under the radar and a potential favorite to sign him this summer.

According to an NHL source, Dan Blysma often glowing about Stamkos on the NHL Network last season and saying Stamkos was the most difficult player to game plan for, has stuck with Stamkos and the pending free agent has a very strong interest in playing for Bylsma.

WILL KESSEL BE ONE AND DONE IN PITTSBURGH?

Will Phil Kessel be one and done in Pittsburgh? These next couple months will tell the story but there is growing talk throughout the industry among executives that Penguins ownership Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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