Stamkos Sweepstakes: updated rankings

Although we still don't know for certain which team Steven Stamkos is leaning towards, it's become a lot clearer who the top bidders will be on July 1st. With the free agent interview window opening, we're starting to see a bit of separation between the various contenders.


Calgary, Minnesota, NY Rangers and Boston are the darkhorses. The Flames expressed interest in Stamkos last summer but seem to have gone quiet on this front, whereas the other three are more at "tire kicking" level right now.


Vancouver, Montreal and the NY Islanders are three teams that will likely make a pitch to Stamkos, but aren't expected to get too heavily into the bidding war. The Habs were previously thought of as a top contender for Stamkos, but things have cooled off significantly.


Tampa Bay, Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit. The Lightning are hoping Stamkos is willing to take less money to stay, although it seems like that optimism is fading.

The other three plan on backing up a truck full of cash to bring him on board. Buffalo appears to be willing to match any bid, whereas Toronto has the hometown allure. It's not clear how much Detroit is willing to pony up, although moving out Pavel Datsyuk's salary helps facilitate a big offer.

There is always a chance a team not listed above comes out of nowhere. Some have wondered whether a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets or Philadelphia Flyers might throw their hat into the ring. We'll know soon enough.

Three days to go.

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