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REPORT: Steven Stamkos to stay with Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Amidst the chaos that is bad trades all over the NHL, Bob McKenzie is now reporting that Steven Stamkos will stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning:

How about that? That certainly changes things for the Red Wings going into Friday’s free agency. The Red Wings will now need to find other options among available players or trades. The Red Wings will now need to take their pick of players such as Kyle Okposo, Milan Lucic, and others.

There was a lot of speculation if the Red Wings should drop big-money on Steven Stamkos, but now that speculation is moot. Stamkos will remain with the Bolts, which is probably the best decision for him in terms of income, and playing with a team that is built to win now.

So what is the best course of action for Ken Holland? Obviously the biggest free agent in the cap era is gone, so, uh... Who’s the top target? There have been reports of the Red Wings expressing big interest in guys like Matt Martin, which makes things scary as all hell now that they won’t have big money tied up in a potential Stamkos contract. All we know is that Friday just got a little more nerve-wracking.

UPDATE: Steven Stamkos to Tampa is official. 8 years with an $8.6 million AAV per Bob McKenzie