Tampa Bay Lightning will not trade Steven Stamkos before trade deadline

Five Facts: Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos
Five Facts: Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to win a Stanley Cup this season. Despite that, they've had to answer questions about why star forward Steven Stamkos hasn't signed to an extension yet. Tampa Bay's refusal to give a true answer created a ton of speculation that Stamkos could be traded before the trade deadline if he didn't sign an extension at some point.

Now, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman had enough of it and released a statement about Stamkos.

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"As February 29th approaches," said Yzerman, via NHL.com, "I am stating today that Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL's trade deadline. I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations."

This should quiet any rumors that remained about the availability of Steven Stamkos. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, but the Lightning have a special opportunity to win the Stanley Cup. It would be horrible to lose him for nothing but it's quite easy to defend keeping a guy like Stamkos and risk losing him for nothing in order to pursue a Stanley Cup.