BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With time running out, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman isn't ready to give up on the possibility of re-signing captain Steven Stamkos.
Speaking at the NHL draft Friday night, Yzerman declined to provide an update on contract talks except to say he's not ruling anything out, or "closing any doors." When posed a question of potentially signing and then trading Stamkos, Yzerman called it "an interesting idea."
He added he'd rather gain an asset by trading Stamkos than losing him to free agency.
The Lightning have leverage to at least agree to sign and trade Stamkos. Under NHL rules Tampa Bay can sign Stamkos to an eight-year contract, while others are limited to seven years.
Starting Saturday, pending unrestricted free agents such as Stamkos are allowed to speak with all teams, but can't sign until July 1.