Jason Brough

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Stamkos let his ‘mind wander a little bit,’ but his heart always said Tampa Bay

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Steven Stamkos allowed himself to wonder what it would be like to leave the Tampa Bay Lightning. He even allowed himself to get pitched by some other teams, to hear what they had to say. But in the end — in the very end — he chose to stay, signing an eight-year $68 million extension, in spite of the opportunity to make considerably more money elsewhere.

“I knew, and I think, that Tampa gives me the best chance to win and be successful moving forward.” Stamkos said Thursday on a conference call.

“Obviously, being there the past eight years and knowing what to expect, knowing what we have going forward with the core group of guys that we have plays into the decision. For me, it was just following your heart and being loyal to the organization that has brought me up and has made me the person and the player that I am today. There’s times in life, whether it’s in business or your everyday life or sports that you let the mind wander a little bit, but I think I knew deep down the whole time that I wanted to be in Tampa.”

Stamkos was well-aware that other teams were prepared to pay him more.

“Some people when they’re in this position chase the most money possible,” he said. “I realize the situation. I understand there could’ve been some money left out there. For me, that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about going to an organization that I was comfortable with and gave me the best chance to win in my mind. It was a very tough decision. It truly was. I can’t sit here and say that this past week has been fun.”

Now that the captain is locked up, it’s up to general manager Steve Yzerman to keep as much of the Lightning’s core together as possible.

Still unsigned for next season: restricted free agents Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov.

Those that will need a new contract before 2017-18: Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan DrouinAndrei Vasilevskiy, and Ben Bishop.

Stamkos has already shown he’s willing to sacrifice money for the collective effort. He hopes, and trusts, that others will follow his lead.

“If we want to stay to together, there’s going to be sacrifices for both sides,” he said. “I believe the core we have understands that.”

Related: After Stamkos re-signs, Bolts buy out Matt Carle

Kings to buy out Greene’s final two years

The Los Angeles Kings freed up some cap space today, placing veteran defenseman Matt Greene on waivers for the purpose of being bought out.

Greene, 33, had two years left on his contract, which carried a $2.5 million cap hit. His buyout will cost the Kings an $833,333 cap hit in each of the following four seasons.

Greene was a part of both the Kings’ Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014, but appeared in just three games in 2015-16 (shoulder surgery).

The Kings now have just five defensemen signed to one-way contracts for next season: Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Rob Scuderi, and Brayden McNabb.

Bruins to buy out Seidenberg, who helped them win a Cup

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One of the key pieces on Boston’s 2011 championship squad, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is today on waivers for the purposes of being bought out, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

It’s a significant move, since Seidenberg has two years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million. Per General Fanager, a buyout will mean a cap hit of $1.17 million next season, $2.17 million in 2017-18 and $1.17 million in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

So the Bruins will gain almost $3 million in cap space for next season. They went into the summer looking to improve their defense, and while they haven’t done it yet, they’re expected to do so in free agency or via trade, or quite possibly both.

Seidenberg, 34, has been with the Bruins since 2010. As mentioned, he was a big part of their 2011 Stanley Cup run, when he skated with Zdeno Chara on the top pairing.

“They’ve been a great shutdown pair,” coach Claude Julien said at the time. “They’ve logged a lot of minutes. They’re obviously capable of logging those kinds of minutes. They’re both in great shape. They both have a lot of endurance. They’ve been a key reason why we’ve had success.”

But time marches on. Seidenberg appeared in 61 games last season (1G, 11A) and logged just 19:24 of ice time per contest, down significantly from the 22:06 he averaged in 2014-15.

Related: Shattenkirk’s agent calls a trade ‘inevitable’

Report: Jackets to buy out Jared Boll

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are preparing to buy out the final year of forward Jared Boll‘s contract, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. 

Boll, 30, had just one goal and two assists in 30 games last season, with 61 PIM. A buyout will cost the Jackets $566,666 against the cap in both 2016-17 and 2017-18, according to General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.7 million.

It will be the second Blue Jackets buyout of this offseason, the other being Fedor Tyutin.

Boll was drafted by Columbus in 2005. Lauded for his “toughness, determination and a great work ethic,” he signed a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension in September of 2013, but has struggled to stay healthy since.

Update:

The Jackets have confirmed that Boll has been placed on waivers for the purpose of being bought out.

“Over the past 10 years, Jared Boll has been an impact player for the Columbus Blue Jackets on the ice and one of our best ambassadors in the community and for that we are extremely thankful,” said GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “Everyone here has great respect and affection for Jared and wish him well. This decision was a difficult one, but one that we believe is in the best interest of our club at this time.”

UFA of the Day: David Perron

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Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

David Perron

He’s already played for four teams, and that makes it easy to forget he’s only 28 years old. But he’s in the same age bracket as UFA wingers like Milan Lucic and Kyle Okposo, a couple of years younger than the likes of Loui Eriksson and Andrew Ladd.

In January, Perron was traded for the third time in his career. He went from Pittsburgh, where he struggled early this season, to Anaheim, where he got the “change of scenery” he apparently needed and scored an impressive eight goals in 28 games.

“He’s still a young guy,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray at the time of the acquisition. “He’s definitely been streaky, but he’s definitely skilled.”

Murray said recently that he’d like to re-sign Perron, but with the right to test the market, Perron might have other ideas. The Montreal Canadiens are reportedly interested in him, and that could be enticing for the Sherbrooke, Quebec, native.

A left-winger, Perron would make sense for the Habs. He could potentially play on the second line, behind first-line sniper Max Pacioretty.

Perron’s expiring contract had a cap hit of $3.8 million. His actual salary last year was $4.5 million.

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.