I thought Stamkos wanted to be the main guy?
Anyway, I can for sure see the appeal of playing in Buffalo or Toronto, but at the same time we are talking about what was the last place and 23rd place teams in the league as of a couple months ago. Up-and-coming is never a guarantee, and there's definitely a level of risk associated with signing the rest of your career away to one of those two teams. The Wings haven't been all that exciting the past few seasons, but at the very least we've been a consistent playoff team. For similar money, it might be more appealing to come to Detroit because we have a better track record of playing games that matter in April.
There are a couple of factors that might favor the Wings, or at least work against the top competition.
One, and you've touched on this here, is that the Sabres and especially the Leafs are probably two or three years away from being truly competitive. At that point, Stamkos will be right around 30 years old and may be in the early stages of decline. (Truth be told, he may already be in decline.) Is he willing to wait two or three years for the team to become competitive? Would he be ok with being eaten alive by the Toronto media at the first sign of trouble? Is he willing to joing an organization that has no recent history of success, one that may not become a perennial powerhouse? (Does he want to play on a bad team coached by Mike Babcock, who will inevitably put him on the wing and coach him to play "heavier" and "more defensively"?) These teams, by their own admission, have to "learn how to win." That's not necessarily as true of the Wings.
A second, related issue is the fact that all of the Sabres' and Leafs' top young talent will need substantial pay raises, which means they might find themselves where the Lightning now find themselves -- full of young talent, but lacking the cap space it'll take to keep all of those top players. Does Stamkos want to be the twelve-million-dollar reason why the Sabres can't keep Sam Reinhart or the Leafs can't keep William Nylander? Does he want to be counting for that much against a young team's cap when other players on the team are matching or exceeding his production and doing so for a fraction of his pay? Would that cause problems in the locker room? Would it lead to the younger talent demanding bigger money than they might otherwise demand, because "Well, Stamkos is getting paid this much to put up 65 points and I'm putting up 80+ points. And that's f***ed."
Did I mention Toronto eats its young?
Dreger: RedWings keenly interested in Stamkos. If they don't land, probably look at Eriksson, or Boedker, or Okposo, or maybe Backes.
Please no Boedker. He's not the player people think he is. We're talking substantially less competent than Tatar or Nyquist.
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