- Stephen Whyno in the Toronto Star: Lightning Steven Stamkos will be a UFA in 2016 and thought of playing for the Maple Leafs could be there.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away,” Stamkos said Wednesday. “Right now I’m focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we’ve really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.
“For me, that’s the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we’re going to have that chance for a couple years.”
Stamkos added that talk of him possibly coming to Toronto in two years will “absolutely not” be a distraction for him.
“I try not to focus about that stuff,” he said. “I think that’s the great thing about playing in Tampa is hockey isn’t the mecca that it is here in Toronto and you can kind of go about your life and kind of get away from the game when you need to.”
Stamkos added that he enjoys playing big hockey markets like Toronto.
“I’m from around here and grew up cheering for the Leafs, so any time I get a chance to come back here I enjoy it, and any time I get a chance to play against the Leafs it’s fun,” he said. “It’s also fun beating them, too, because a lot of my friends are still Leaf fans.”
- Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area: Kurz expects the Sharks to start the season with Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock in net. If they were going to trade Niemi, it likely would have happened already. Niemi has one-year left on his deal at $3.8 million. It’s possible that a team during the season could look at Niemi as a backup or potential starter. Niemi has won a Stanley Cup and was a Vezina Finalist just over a year ago.
- Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Penguins head coach Mike Johnston will be heading to Moscow, Russia this weekend to meet up with Evgeni Malkin.