WATCH: Steven Stamkos takes in the moment after possibly having played his last game in a Lightning jersey

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in a 6-1 loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 5. For Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, this may have been his final game in a Lightning jersey.

Stamkos' future with the team is uncertain, as his eight-year, $68 million contract extension signed in 2016 is ending and no new deal is in place.

After the game ended, Stamkos remained on the ice alone after all his teammates left, taking in the moment.

Watch the video here:

The 34-year-old center has spent his entire NHL career with Tampa Bay after being selected first overall by the Lightning in the 2008 draft.

Stamkos has been a foundational piece of the Lightning during his tenure, helping lead them to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in 2020 and 2021. In 127 career playoff games, he has tallied 101 points (50 goals, 51 assists), ranking third all-time in franchise postseason scoring.

This season, Stamkos notched five goals and one assist in the playoffs. During the regular season, he recorded 81 points (40 goals, 41 assists) in 77 games. Over his illustrious career, Stamkos has scored 555 goals and 582 assists for 1,137 points in 1,082 games.

Steven Stamkos' take on contract extension

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times before the playoffs, Steven Stamkos expressed his wish to continue his career in Tampa Bay.

"If it were up to me, I wouldn’t (leave)," Steven Stamkos stated. "But I’ve tried to do my best to leave that stuff to the side or to private conversations. When I come to the rink, I try to be as great a teammate as I can."

Stamkos has spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Lightning after being drafted.

"It’s just crazy, you know, when I think about having 16 regular seasons in the books," Stamkos reflected. "That’s pretty, pretty amazing when I look back and think it’s been that long. I’ve had some amazing memories and teammates and all that has come along with 16 years."

Beyond his on-ice performance, Lightning coach Jon Cooper praised Stamkos' leadership and presence in the locker room.

"To be honest, and it’s maybe not the answer you’re looking for, it’s how he’s led this group," Cooper remarked.
"People are going to look at the amount of goals he scored in March and how he got to 40. That is what the general public eye will see, but what he’s done in the room and behind the scenes and on the bench has been a big lift for us."

With his current deal expiring, there is uncertainty surrounding Steven Stamkos' future in Tampa Bay.

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