Captain Steven Stamkos says reps, Lightning 'definitely still talking'

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos made it clear on Saturday he wants to remain with the team long term, despite reports that he is probably on his way out of Tampa Bay.

Stamkos, who is in the final year of his contract, told the Tampa Bay Times that his representatives and the Lightning are "definitely still talking," and that he's optimistic an extension can be reached.

"Like I've always said, I envision myself winning a championship here and want to do that," Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times. "Obviously, we got close last year, and I'm the captain of this team, and I want to be that leader."

Stamkos, 25, also denied any rumored rift with coach Jon Cooper, telling the Times, "That's false, too. ... There's been so many different articles written about Coop and I. How do they know what's going on in the room? A lot of it is speculation, a lot of it is a story that needs something to make it seem legit. There needs to be a reason [he's still unsigned]. Why no one has had any concrete stuff is because there hasn't been anything to talk about."

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in June that signing Stamkos to a long-term contract was his "No. 1" offseason priority, though Stamkos has yet to ink an extension.

"That was obviously the hope, it hasn't gotten done," Stamkos told the Times. "But there has been a lot of situations in the past where guys have signed later in the season, and this isn't the first time, even [Kings center Anze] Kopitar is going through it this year. It's not the first time someone in my position has been unsigned at this point in the season. Obviously we'll see what happens."

Asked if he would waive his no-move clause if an agreement has yet to be reached by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, Stamkos told the Times, "When we cross that bridge, we'll go over it then. There's still a lot of time before then. A lot of things can happen."

Stamkos has 12 goals in 33 games for the 16-14 Lightning after snapping his 10-game goal drought in Friday night's 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals. Stamkos is on pace for his lowest scoring output for a full season since scoring 23 goals in his rookie year, in 2008-09. He scored 25 goals in 37 games in 2013-14, when he broke his leg.

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun contributed to this report.