Lightning captain Steven Stamkos responds to trade rumors, Kings center Anze Kopitar talks about his contract status, and speculation over Keith Yandle’s future with the Rangers. 

Stamkos unworried over contract negotiations.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos claims to be unconcerned by speculation over his contract talks.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos claims to be unconcerned by speculation over his contract talks.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson reports Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos isn’t concerned over the fact he’s yet to sign a contract extension. He told Erlendsson not to expect any details from his side or that of Lightning management on the matter, claiming he’s focused on preparing for the upcoming season.

ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside reports Stamkos is aware of the buzz his contract status is creating, but says it’s “total speculation because you never know when things can change.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted before, the longer Stamkos is unsigned, the greater the conjecture about his future. It’s understandable, as he’ll be the biggest prize in next summer’s UFA market. I’m sure we’ll soon start seeing rumors linking Stamkos with different NHL teams (hello there, Toronto Maple Leafs) if he’s still unsigned when the season begins. “Stammergedon” could dominate the 2015-16 rumor mill. 

Kopitar hoping to re-sign before Kings training camp.

ESPN.COM’s Pierre LeBrun reports via Twitter that Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar would ideally prefer to re-sign a new contract before training camp opens next week. However, Kopitar also understands it’s a business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar will certainly get his share of speculation if he’s still unsigned before the season begins. It’s believed he prefers not to negotiate during the 2015-16 campaign. Expect rumors over his future to ramp up if he hasn’t inked an extension by then. 

Could Yandle be dealt by the trade deadline?

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross speculates New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton “may be compelled to trade puck-mover Keith Yandle by the deadline since it’s unlikely the Rangers can fit the upcoming unrestricted free agent within their cap structure.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While that’s possible, it also depends upon where the Rangers are in the standings by Feb. 29, their roster needs and Yandle’s performance. They could retain Yandle in hopes he’ll provide invaluable depth to their defense for another shot at reaching the Stanley Cup Final.