Lightning Rumors: 3 Potential Destinations Should Steven Stamkos Leave Tampa Bay

When the news broke that Steven Stamkos was very disappointed with Tampa Bay Lightning's GM Julien BriseBois' lack of summer communication it caught many by surprise. Stamkos is a pending unrestricted free agent and even after all these years and accomplishments, the team didn't reach out at all in regards to a contract extension. 

Turns out BriseBois and the Lightning are taking a wait-and-see approach, which of course has pissed off Stamkos, who feels he deserves more. IF, and a big IF but if Stamkos does leave Tampa Bay, here's three teams who will be at the top of the watch list:

Boston Bruins

The Bruins are desperate for help down the middle and a 34-year-old Stamkos signing in Boston next season could send shockwaves across the league. He'd be a natural fit with the B's and would give them the number one centre they crave. Boston will have a projected $28 million to work with next summer. Lots of money to fit in Stamkos.

Toronto Maple Leafs

When Stamkos was a free agent many moons ago, the Maple Leafs were hot on his tail, trying to get the Ontario native to 'come home'. Stamkos wanted no part of leaving the beaches in Tampa and rightfully so. The thing to watch here is the fact Leafs captain John Tavares and Stamkos are life-long friends and riding out their careers together in Toronto is something that would be very appealing for both. 

Florida Panthers

How better to get back at your old team then to join their biggest rival. Stamkos loves living and playing hockey in Florida and the Panthers would certainly be willing to make room for the Lightning captain to sign on. Stamkos hasn't lost his fastball and is still an elite talent. That's not going to change anytime soon and if the Lightning fumble the ball here, look for the Panthers to try their best to make the recovery.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports