Steven Stamkos opens up about his decision to leave Tampa

Elliot Ben Jacob
July 1, 2024  (6:46 PM)

Former Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times

The Tampa Bay Lightning shocked fans by letting Steven Stamkos walk away as a free agent, joining the Nashville Predators on a 4-year deal.

Steven Stamkos, the long-time captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, signed a new 4-year deal with the Nashville Predators. His departure from the team he's played for throughout his NHL career left many puzzled about why things fell apart.
After signing with Nashville, Stamkos opened up about the emotional toll of his decision.
"Well it's been probably as crazy as you can think in terms of the rollercoaster of emotions,"
admitted Stamkos as per TSN.
"So much amazing history in Tampa for my family and I and ultimately trying to work something out there and fell short."

Stamkos clarified that he tried his best to stay with the Lightning.
"Not by my trying that's for sure,"
he noted.
However, once it became clear his future wasn't with Tampa Bay, Stamkos was open to other opportunities.
"Once we kind of got past that we were really open to the opportunity of going somewhere else,"
he said.
Nashville stood out as a top choice for Stamkos and his family.
"Every time we were looking for things that would certainly interest us in a new team Nashville kept popping up. So thankful that they had mutual interest and we were able to get something done."

Stamkos indicated that the decision seemed to be more influenced by the team's perspective than his own.
"Depends who you ask,"

He said regarding when the door closed on Tampa.
"If you ask Tampa maybe the door was closed a little sooner than if you ask me."

He held onto hope that they might reach a new agreement, but it didn't happen.
"You always think that something is gonna work out, but this morning when I woke up we knew we were gonna make a decision to be somewhere else,"
Ultimately, the welcoming environment in Nashville compared to his treatment by Tampa Bay made the decision easier for Stamkos. His move marks a significant shift in the NHL, as he now embarks on a new chapter with the Predators.