Start planning the parade, because the Toronto Maple Leafs are all but set to acquire Steven Stamkos from the Tampa Bay Lightning. My Leaf fan friend assures me that this is going to happen, and I consider him a credible source despite the fact that he has no association or contacts with the franchise (or in the industry of sport). By the sheer force of his desire to acquire Stamkos, it will happen. Rumour has it that Stamkos has already turned down big money from Tampa and could be moved. He is a restricted free agent, so the Leafs could either tender an overpriced contract offer or make a trade. Problem being that Burkie doesn't sign RFA offer sheets so scratch the former; and even if he trades for Stamkos, he still has to sign him. What if Stamkos wants a front loaded contract like many elite players? Uh oh, Burke doesn't sign front loaded contracts. That could be a problem.
So let me be the first to break the story that Steve Stamkos will be acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, because a hardcore Leafs fan told me it would be so. All that's left is to hammer out the details. Easy as apple pie...
On a serious note, I'm not sure I'd want to pay Stamkos more than Crosby, especially if the deal extends over 10 years. That's a lot of money.
UPDATE: Stamkos re-signed in Tampa for 5 years at $7.5 per season, and my source on this story (the Leaf fan) was very disappointed. First that is much less term than I expected, but the annual hit is remarkably fair based on his production. What took so long? My friend the Leaf fan reported that Stamkos turned down a contract offer larger than that a few weeks ago. Surely my Leaf fan friend could not be wrong.