Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos could be a Detroit Red Wings player by the NHL trade deadline, according to a "bold prediction" from The Hockey News' Ken Campbell.
Campbell said the blockbuster trade would happen after the Lightning signed Stamkos to an 8-year contract and then immediately traded him to the Red Wings. Stamkos would be a free agent at the end of the season.
According to the article, Campbell believes the 8-year contract would match the $84 million contracts signed by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Faced with the prospect of losing him for nothing, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will orchestrate a 'sign-and-trade' deal for Stamkos with the Red Wings that will allow Stamkos to go to the team of his choice and get an eight-year deal," Campbell wrote. The Red Wings would also receive Jonathan Drouin, who is just 20 years old.
The price would be very high for Stamkos. Campbell said the Red Wings would have to send Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Alexey Marchenko, Anthony Mantha and a first-round pick in 2016 and 2017 to the Lightning.
"Stamkos will immediately go back to his center position, moving the aging Pavel Datsyuk down to a checking role more suited to him on the third line," Campbell added.
Last month, rumors came out about a rift between head coach John Cooper and Stamkos, though Stamkos denied those rumors.
Stamkos, 25, has scored 17 goals with 13 assists in 40 games this season. He has had four seasons where he's scored more than 30 goals, including 43 goals last season and 60 goals in 2011.