The Elbow staff
TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Maple Leafs are scratching their heads this evening after losing out on home-grown superstar Steven Stamkos ahead of Friday's free agency period.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman surprised the hockey world on Wednesday by announcing that Stamkos had signed an eight-year, $68 million deal.
Earlier in the day, Stamkos had met with Leafs management, as well as Toronto mayor John Tory, and Canadian Tire CEO Michael Medline.
According to several sources, the Leafs had tabled an offer to the centreman that, up until 3pm ET, was agreed upon in principle by both parties.
It is believed that Stamkos was advised by Leafs personnel at that time that their offer – rumoured to be approximately $12 million per year – was to be paid entirely in Canadian Tire money.
The deal was to be in addition to endorsements that the forward would earn from Canadian Tire, for approximately $6 million per year, also in the conglomerate's currency.
According to sources close to the team, Stamkos was furious at the proposal.
"He was understandably upset," a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said. "He told the Leafs that they may as well have offered him a contract in Canadian dollars or British pounds."
More to follow.