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Julien BriseBois Hopes to Keep Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning were eliminated in five games by their in-state rival, the Florida Panthers, in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, the talk of the series is whether Steven Stamkos played his last game with the Lightning.

Cameras were focused on Stamkos as he shook hands as he waited for the last two players to cross the line before finally walking off the ice.

NHL Rumors: Could Steven Stamkos Really Leave Tampa?

In the media after the game even Jon Cooper was asked about the status of Steven Stamkos and the team going forward and if he could imagine the captain wearing a jersey without the lightning colors.

“I don't know if there will be many discussions. I hope not, though. He belongs here. We know. You know,” Cooper said to the media following Game 5. “But, again, this is two seconds into the game. But he and I grew up together. You are a player. But also, I think, he is in control of his destiny. I don't know what will happen. He feels like a Bolt all his life, but only he and Julien can answer that one. “

Stamkos' speech will not end this season either. It will be the talk of the offseason. That's when he hit free agency before re-signing with the Lightning. But the noise will not stop.

We know how Stamkos felt at the start of the season. He was unhappy that a contract extension had not been negotiated. Stamkos wants to stay in Tampa, and the team wants him.

Lightning General Manager Julien BriseBois spoke about the future of Steven Stamkos at a press conference on Wednesday. BriseBois told the media that he had the first talks with Stamkos and his agent after they got off the plane coming back from Sunrise.

NHL Rumors: Steven Stamkos On Track To Stay With Lightning

BriseBois said he's “hopeful” about keeping Stamkos with the Lightning, and he's very important this offseason.

Chris Kreen of the Tampa Bay Lightning: “Obviously, Steven Stamkos needs a contract, and we want him to be a part of that team. The goal is for him to continue playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning team that is fighting to move forward.”

In the final year of his contract with the Lightning before becoming a free agent, Stamkos finished with 81 points (41 goals and 40 assists), including 16 goals in the last 17 games.

NHL Rumors: Steven Stamkos Wants To Stay With Tampa Bay Lightning

He also recorded six points in five playoff games, including leading the Lightning with five goals in the playoffs. Steven Stamkos can still produce.

The question will be, does he take a discount to stay? And what is his discount? Remember, Anze Kopitar went from $10 million AAV to $7.5 million to stay in Los Angeles, but you can make a point that Stamko's discount is still $8.5 million.

Lightning is against salary. They also have other decisions to make with other players. But all the focus will be on Steven Stamkos until a new deal is finalized or he signs elsewhere.

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