NHL Rumors: Steven Stamkos Signing With 1 of 3 Teams

The Steven Stamkos sweepstakes are just around the corner as the Tampa Bay Lightning will be letting their franchise leader hit the open market on Monday. While there's still a very small chance Stamkos returns to Tampa Bay, three teams are expected to make serious offers for the free-agent centre.

The Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings are the three teams reportedly very interested in Stamkos' services and are willing to make multi-year offers to get a contract hammered out. Stamkos reportedly turned down a five-year deal from the Lightning at $3 million AAV.

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, he feels like the Predators are the team to beat here:

As the Stamkos news spread over the past few days, several salivated at the thought of talking to him. We’ll see how he handles this. Stamkos did not enjoy the 2016 dog-and-pony show, ending it prematurely. It’s absolutely weird to process him anywhere but Tampa. Never thought I’d see the day. My money’s on Nashville (no wagering on anything I say, please), but a lot of suitors are putting on their cufflinks in this dating game.

The Preds have boat loads of cap space and are looking for some secondary scoring this summer. Stamkos is coming off a 81 point season and can't seem to find the respect he deserves from the Lightning's management brass. 

Nashville has an up-and-coming team who exceeded expectations last season, they can offer Stamkos a serious contract and a state with no income tax and nice weather. Seems like the perfect fit.

Photo credit:  Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports