STAMKOS SAGA CONTINUES
It's funny how you ask one guy in the organization and he tells you one thing then you ask someone else and they give you a completely different story.
It's all part of the game as a beat reporter - trying to decipher what's fact and what's simply lip service or team-oriented spin doctoring.
Doing my best source-to-English translation, here is what I've been able to glean regarding Stamkos.
The Flyers would love to be able to go after him and have discussed a possible offer sheet that could cripple the Lightning and force them to trade him to the Flyers.
But, there are many pitfalls that have left the Flyers deciding if they want to get involved in a game of chicken.
First, they have to make sure they can put together a contract offer that not only would force Tampa into submission, but would be manageable enough on the Flyers end to be able to move other pieces around to make sure they could work within the confines of the cap.
Secondly, they have to make sure their offer is the best offer. There are a lot of other teams interested in signing Stamkos to an offer sheet and many of them are in a better cap situation to offer a maximum allowed deal, which would better the Flyers.
Then there's this little-discussed ramification:
If the Flyers do extend an offer sheet, Tampa has seven days to match. If the Lightning drag it out to the last possible day, it could hamstring the Flyers come Friday, when the free agency signing period begins.
They can only exceed the $64.3 million cap by 10 percent during the summer, so they need to be careful.
In a lot of ways, that's why everything is being played out so cat-and-mouse-like.
My prediction is the Flyers will make an offer, because that is their aggressive style, as will other teams.
However, I believe Tampa matches and clears out some other salary - like Ryan Malone - to keep Stamkos.
The Flyers will then turn their attention elsewhere and find a handful of solid, character-oriented guys - with skill mind you - to fill out the roster.
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