Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he was disappointed with the lack of discussions with the team about a new contract.

Stamkos’ eight-year, $68 million contract ends after next season, and he said there were no discussions about an extension over the summer.

“To be honest, I’m disappointed with the lack of discussions on this subject,” Stamkos said Wednesday, as Lightning players reported for the start of training camp. This is something I expressed late last year that I wanted to discuss it before training camp started. »

Tampa Bay, which won the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021 before losing in the Finals in 2022, has faced salary cap issues for several years. Last season, the Lightning lost in the first round to Toronto.

General manager Julien BriseBois indicated that it would be great if Stamkos could spend his entire career with the team, but that there would be no discussions until the end of the season.

“Steven and I share the common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa, that’s our goal,” added BriseBois. To achieve this in the years to come, we will need to spend our budget as wisely as possible. To do this, I think I need to gather more information. »

During the offseason, the Lightning signed forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year, $52 million contract extension that begins with the 2024-25 season. Much of the team’s core, from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to defenders Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak to forwards Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, have signed a long-term contract, and Victor Hedman could sign a new one. contract next summer.

BriseBois explained that as far as Stamkos is concerned, he has to see how the season goes.

“I have to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together this year. After the season, once I have gathered this information, I can work with Steven and his agent on a contract structure that would be in the best interest of both parties. »

Stamkos, who turns 34 in February, reiterated his desire to finish his career with Tampa Bay, which selected him first overall in the 2008 draft.

“I think it’s something I didn’t see coming,” Stamkos admitted. That’s what happened. I would like to extend my contract, play here and finish my career here, but that is not up to me. I can’t write a contract for myself. »

Stamkos reached the milestone of 1,000 games played (1,003) and 500 goals (515) last season, with 34 goals and 85 points in 81 games.

“I think it would be great for the organization if Steven could spend his entire career with the Lightning,” BriseBois said. It’s in everyone’s interest. Everyone knows what Steven means to our organization and what he has brought to our team. »