The nine rumoured contenders for Steven Stamkos

We are a mere 11 days away from the June 25th UFA interview period, and several teams are putting the final touches on their sales pitches to Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has expressed his desire to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but if and when he opens up to offers from other teams, there will be no lack of suitors.

Here are the 9 teams rumoured to be interested in Stamkos if he makes it to July 1st:

9. Calgary Flames 
Although they might not seem like a logical fit for Stamkos, the Flames have been linked in trade talks with the Lightning dating back to last year's draft. The one big issue the Flames face is the number of key pending RFAs they have to re-sign this summer, making it hard to fathom adding a 9 or 10 million dollar player.

8. Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres were in hot pursuit of Stamkos ahead of last year's draft, perhaps even having offered the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 draft. Consider the center-stacked Sabres a darkhorse at this point.

7. Minnesota Wild 
The Wild enter the offseason committed to a massive roster shakeup, and they've made it a goal of theirs to pursue high end centers such as Stamkos, Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Derek Stepan. Expect the Wild to make a big pitch.

6. New York Islanders 
With new ownership taking over and several key UFAs set to hit the market, the Isles are looking to make a splash. Many believe the Isles will at least kick tires on Stamkos.

5. Vancouver Canucks 
The Canucks have been linked to Stamkos for months now, but is a team that  seems to be on the way down of interest to him? The 'Nucks have the cap space and can offer him a prime spot at center ice immediately.

4. Detroit Red Wings 
Many believe the Red Wings are looking to move out both Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard to create room for a big UFA splash. Multiple reports indicate they will go hard after Stamkos if he becomes available.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs 
Nobody seems to know for certain whether Stamkos wants to play for the team he grew up cheering for, but it's without question that the Leafs will make a big pitch for the native of Markham, Ontario. Toronto is ready to bust open the warchest to make it happen, but does he want to join a team in the middle of a rebuild?

2. Montreal Canadiens 
The Canadiens have been rumoured to be interested in Stamkos for months, and some have even suggested Stamkos would be interested in playing for them. Expect the Habs to be at the forefront in this race.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning 
Stamkos has repeatedly stated his desire to stay with the Lightning, but with mere days before free agency, it won't be long before he starts imagining himself in a different jersey. Stamkos is currently listed at a 60% likelihood of hitting NHL free agency, but the Lightning still remain the likeliest of the group to sign him.

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