During the 2016 summer, Steven Stamkos signed an 8 year, 64 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning only days before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Many thought Steve Yzerman of the Lightning was playing with fire and risking losing his star player for nothing... but think again.
According to insider Pierre LeBrun on 91.9 Sports radio station in Montreal, Stamkos and Yzerman presumably had a handshake deal all along: If both sides couldn't reach an agreement on a contract to play for the Lightning, they would do a sign and trade deal before being dealt to the team of his choice.
Many teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres were lining up for the coveted superstar.
This is brilliant and could very well become a new trend in the NHL because an unrestricted free agent can only sign a 7 year contract with a new team, while re-signing with his current team allows him to add an additional year and sign an 8 year contract instead.
This would be a smart way for teams to get assets for a star player they are likely to lose if he is suddenly signed to a longterm deal.