Stamkos signs 4-year contract with Predators after leaving Lightning

Stamkos was not the only big move made by the Predators on Monday. Forwards Jonathan Marchessault, who won the Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2023, signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 million AAV), Alexandre Carrier signed a three-year, $11.25 million contract ($3.75 million AAV), and defenseman Brady Skjei signed a seven-year, $49 million contract ($7 million AAV).

Marchessault, an original member of the Golden Knights, said he was “disappointed” he could not re-sign with Vegas, but told TSN, “I turned the page an hour ago. We move on. A new chapter, a new challenge for me and my family.”

Stamkos signed an eight-year, $68 million contract ($8.5 million average annual value) on June 29, 2016 and was eligible to sign a new contract with Tampa Bay last season.

“Steven’s earned the right to test free agency,” Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said. “I didn’t go to him last season to get a deal done. I did go to him quickly after this season, and I was taking a risk by doing that that we may end up here, and now here we are. And to be fair, I think both parties have tried to get a deal done up to this point. We just haven’t been able to yet.”

The No. 1 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Stamkos has 1,137 points (555 goals, 582 assists) in 1,082 games over 16 seasons, all with the Lightning ranking first in points, goals, games, power-play goals (214), game-winning goals (85) and overtime goals (13) in team history.

He won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for most goals in a season twice (51 in 2009-10, and 60 in 2011-12) and led the Lighting to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2020 and 2021.

“At the end of the day, winning is still what fuels me,” Stamkos said May 1. “Being a big part of that culture fuels me. Obviously, certain things have changed now; I have an amazing young family that has put roots down in this city and really enjoy living here and playing here. From that perspective the decision is more than just me now, and that’s something that is amazing for me to have that and be in that situation.

“There’s different factors than there were last time, but nothing’s really changed in terms of my mindset and where I wanted to be and play, and that was here. So, that certainly hasn’t changed.”

Since entering the NHL, Stamkos is second in goals, behind only Alex Ovechkin (690) and fourth in points, behind Sidney Crosby (1,302), Ovechkin (1,240) and Patrick Kane (1,212).

“When you don’t have control of the situation, you just have to come to terms with that,” Stamkos said. “For sure, there were times throughout the year you think about those things in private conversations with friends and family and mentors and things like that, but for me, I tried to leave that at home and when I came to the rink it never crossed my mind.

Stamkos is third in playoff points (101) and assists (51), second in goals (50) and fifth in games (128) in Lightning history.

“He belongs here. We know it, he knows it,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said April 29. “We’ve grown up together, he’s a heck of a player, but he’s also … I mean, he controls his own destiny, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. But he feels like a Bolt for life, but only he and Julien can answer that one.”

Marchessault, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, had 69 points (42 goals, 27 assists) last season and four points in seven playoff games.

He has 487 points (230 goals, 257 assists) in 638 regular-season games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lightning, Panthers and Golden Knights.

“A Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe winner, Jonathan Marchessault immediately makes our team better in all aspects of the game, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the Predators organization,” Trotz said. “His track record as a goal-scoring forward is well established, and we feel his versatility and physicality makes him a good fit in our group that already includes players like Filip Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly. We’re looking forward to seeing his playoff experience benefit those around him on our roster.”

Skjei, 30, had an NHL career-high 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) in 80 regular-season games for the Carolina Hurricanes last season and nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 11 playoff games.

Selected by the New York Rangers in the first round (No. 28) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Skjei has 247 points (68 goals, 179 assists) in 609 regular-season games for the Hurricanes and Rangers and 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 76 playoff games.

“We feel Brady Skjei has developed into one of the NHL’s top two-way defensemen, and his high-end ability to skate and move the puck makes him a big addition to our defensive corps,” Trotz said. “By joining a group that includes Norris Trophy finalist Roman Josi, Stanley Cup champion Luke Schenn, a physical presence in Jeremy Lauzon and recently signed Alexandre Carrier, Brady gives us another two-way blueliner who can play in all situations.”

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