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Are the Flames In On Stamkos ?

Steven Stamkos faces the Flames, "Hey, you lookin at me?"
Steven Stamkos faces the Flames, "Hey, you lookin at me?"

The longer Steven Stamkos remains unsigned the more speculation broadens on him.

3 days ago I would not have given the Flames even a remote chance of signing Stamkos but I also would not have given them a remote chance of signing Brad Richards either.

Turns out the Flames were Brad's #2 choice. So just how close the Flames came to getting Brad Richards has to surprise quite a few. The fact that they were even in the running is probably surprising to a lot and it is also likely a relief to just as many, in the Flames tent, that they did not sign him.

If the Flames were ready to offer a 31 year old player with a concussion history a huge 9 year deal worth 65 million, the next thought has to be what would they offer a young 21 year old star player with 15 years of play ahead of him.

If the Flames were willing to offer that for Richards, well they may as well go all out and do it right for Stamkos. Everyone in the NHL and around the horn has been almost universal in their prediction that Stamkos is going to resign in Tampa but why hasn't he?

More after the jump

One has to think that Lightning owner Jeff Vinik may be involved with his hand on Yzerman's shoulder in Tampa.

Vinik's background is in investments, he has managed hedge funds and mutual funds. He is not an oil man who may have more of a reputation for throwing money at high risk situations. Despite Tampa's incredible playoff run, according to Forbes they still lost money last year. Now Vinik has already done well on the Lightning paying just 93 million for them but he is likely not enthused about matching a 15 year 120 million dollar contract - strictly from the money management perspective.

Vincent Lecavalier is already the monster contract in Tampa and it can not be desirable to have two of those.

It isn't personal hockey fans, it is just business. Vinik will know his numbers well, if not better than any owner in the NHL. He knows the Tampa market for his product and he can interpret a prospectus as well as anyone I am sure.

As we enter Day 3 of Stamkos being open to offer sheets there is no reason to write the Flames off and out of the running. The same facts remain that allow them to pursue Stamkos that also allowed them to be in the running for Brad Richards.

10 quick reasons why the Flames may be in on Stamkos

(1) The Flames have been questing for a star Center to play with Jarome Iginla for his whole career

(2) The Flames have Cap room

(3) The Flames have Owners who will spend to the Cap

(4) The Flames have Owners who will probably even eat contracts in the minors to make more Cap room.

(5) The Flames are looking for a young new franchise star in a post - Iginla era. Who isn't but since the Flames can't draft, they may try and buy one.

(6) The Flames have not drafted well in 20 years, hence giving up 4 -1st round picks probably doesn't deter them as much as it may other teams.

(7) Feaster drafted Stamkos he knows him to a degree.

(8) Stamkos may be happy as a clam in Tampa but when we are talking about Stamkos leaving tens of million, or more, to stay in Tampa on a short term contract versus a long term one, it has to factor for him.

(9) Calgary given its aging star in Iginla is probably comfortable floating an offer of 15 years 120 million and locking up a 21 year old Stamkos for life on a Cap hit of 8 million.

(10) Although it appears odd to most analysts and other fans and even many Flames fans, you get the feeling the Flames as a team and management want to continue to push for the Cup, which means this kind of a move is not really outside the realm of possibility if they are still in a win now mode.

It's fun to speculate at this point and this article will hopefully be relevant for more than 4 minutes, unlike my last one on Brad Richards. In the meantime Flames fans can have visions of Stamkos dancing in their head like sugarplums before Christmas, until he signs somewhere anyway.

No reason to think the Flames are not involved in the current conversation on Stamkos.