Steven Stamkos is still on course to become a free agent even after the Tampa Bay Lightning cleared significant salary cap space with trades made at the NHL draft.

General manager Julien BriseBois and agent Don Meehan on Saturday independently confirmed their stances have not changed with respect to Stamkos signing a new contract with the club before free agency opens Monday.

BriseBois said he did not increase his previous offer to Stamkos after trading two-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and depth forward Tanner Jeannot on Saturday.

Stamkos at 34 becomes one of the top players available to the league’s other 31 teams. He has been the face of the franchise since the Lightning picked him first in the 2008 draft, and he has served as captain since 2014, lifting the Cup twice as part of the organization’s back-to-back run in ‘20 and ’21.



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