Mar 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Lightning beat the Maple Leafs 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs: Is Steven Stamkos Coming Home?

I know: it’ll probably never happen.

There’s no real reason to believe Steven Stamkos will ever join his boyhood team the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For one, the Tampa Bay Lightning will likely throw every cent they own Stamkos’ way to retain his services following the 2015-2016 season when he becomes a free agent.

There’s also the fact few NHL superstars seem interested in calling Toronto home. We have no trouble landing the David Clarksons of the hockey world, but the Brad Richards avoid us like the plague. (Too much pressure?)

Apr 22, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) before game four against Montreal Canadiens of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

That’s why all this talk about Stamkos one day playing for the Leafs shouldn’t be taken very seriously. Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to see Stamkos wear a Leafs jersey, but as a fan of the team, I’m also tired of giving my hopes up for nothing.

Of course, the Stamkos rumours would be easier to ignore if the man himself wasn’t fueling them.

Stamkos has been coy on the subject, saying it’s fun to play against the Leafs. He also said many of his friends are still Leafs fans and he grew up supporting the team.

“I’m from around here and grew up cheering for the Leafs so any time I get a chance to come back here I enjoy it, and any time I get a chance to play against the Leafs, it’s fun,” Stamkos told reporters yesterday at promotional event in Toronto. “It’s also fun beating them, too, because a lot of my friends are still Leafs fans.”

Although entertaining the idea, Stamkos was noncommittal.

“We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away. Right now I’m focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa and I think we’ve really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years,” he said.

I guess Stamkos really has been away from Toronto for quite some time.

It’s a “couple of years” away? Try telling that to Leafs fans who’ll likely fret over his comments for the next two seasons.

For many of us, it’ll be a long two years where we’ll constantly be asking ourselves, “When is our LeBron James coming home?”

I refuse to bite.

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Tags: Steven Stamkos Toronto Maple Leafs

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