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Monday, Oct 23, 2017
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Bolts will continue talks with Stamkos, Purcell

BRANDON - With the Tampa Bay Lightning's roster seemingly set heading into training camp, general manager Steve Yzerman expects the rest of the summer to be relatively quiet for him and his staff, with two exceptions — Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell. Both players are restricted free agents and remain without a contract heading into the season, although talks will continue with both players, Yzerman said. Stamkos, who leads the league with 96 goals over the past two seasons, is the most talked-about player on the free agent market with the threat of an offer sheet from another team bandied about through media outlets and rumor mills since before July 1. While indications have remained that a deal could be close as the two sides try to find an agreeable contract, Yzerman continues to stay away from revealing any type of timetable for a deal to be in place. The two sides have not spoken since Friday as Yzerman focused on the end of the development camp, but discussions are expected to resume Wednesday.
"We'll continue to talk, and I'm optimistic that we'll get a contract completed hopefully sooner than later,'' Yzerman said. Purcell, meanwhile, has an arbitration case scheduled to be heard July 20 if a new contract can't be reached before then. Should the case go before an arbiter, a ruling would come no later than July 22. The two sides have exchanged contract proposals, although finding a common ground remains elusive at this point, Yzerman said. "If we have to go to the arbitration hearing, we'll do that and we'll start working towards that, but it doesn't mean we can't get something done,'' he said. "We'll know one way or the other in two weeks."
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