4. New York Rangers
Stamkos is an elite player who deserves a big stage. The New York Rangers can provide that big stage. Problem is the cap.
The Rangers do not have the cap space other teams have. But they will have $9 million or so coming off the books next off-season. Of course that would mean not re-signing Keith Yandle, a player the Rangers traded promising young forward Anthony DuClair for.
That said, if not signing Yandle freed up the money to acquire Stamkos, Ranger fans would not mind too much. But any Stamkos offer would certainly cut into the amount of money available for Chris Kreider who is a restricted free agent at season’s end. Kreider will also be due a nice raise. Like the Flyers, an in-season deal maybe the Rangers best option. The Rangers and Lightning have already proven they are willing to make big name deals during season. What would the big names be this time? Maybe Nash? Maybe Kreider?
Nash, Kreider and Stamkos are not exactly second liners like Martin St. Louis and Ryan Callahan, but there is a history of two teams willing to deal with each other. To acquire Stamkos the Rangers would have to unload a bunch of salary.
One of their current top six defenseman would also be included. With the emergence of recently demoted Brady Skeji the Rangers may actually be able to offer one. And the Lightning could certainly use one.