Steven Stamkos frustrated that Lightning won't negotiate

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he is disappointed that the team hasn't engaged in meaningful contract talks ahead of training camp, with free agency looming next summer.

"To be honest, I've been disappointed in the lack of talk in that regard. It was something that I expressed at the end of last year -- that I wanted to get something done before training camp started. There haven't been any conversations," Stamkos said Wednesday. "I'm ready whenever. I guess that was something that I didn't see coming. But it is what it is."

Stamkos, 33, is entering his 16th NHL season, all with the Lightning. He was a part of two Stanley Cup championship seasons and had 84 points in 81 games in 2022-23.

As he enters the final season of an eight-year, $68 million contract, Stamkos has expressed a desire to extend his current deal and finish his career with the Lightning.

"I can't write a contract for myself," Stamkos said.

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said it would be great for the organization if Stamkos could finish his career in Tampa Bay but noted the other factors at play.

"It's not just about Steven playing out his career in Tampa," BriseBois said. "It's about Steven staying in Tampa and the Lightning remaining a legitimate Stanley Cup contender year in and year out for the remainder of his tenure as a player on the club.

"Steven and I share the common goal of bringing the Cup back to Tampa," BriseBois added. "That's our objective. In order for us to do that in future years, we're going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible."

BriseBois said he needs to "gather more information" during the 2023-24 season before better understanding the team's roster going forward.

"I need to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit this year. I need to see who steps up and is ready to handle a bigger role. I need to see how the team performs," BriseBois said. "I need to see how this season plays out before I make those decisions. After the season, once I've gathered that information, I can work with Steven and his agent on a contract structure that will be in the best interest of both sides."

Asked if the contract status would weigh on Stamkos during the season, BriseBois said, "I think in the grand scheme of things, this is right course of action."