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Here's how fans are reacting to Steven Stamkos' departure from the Lightning

Steven Stamkos stands on the ice in his full hockey gear.
Chris O'Meara
/
AP
Steven Stamkos was the Tampa Bay Lightning Center for 16 seasons.

Steven Stamkos, who has been with the team since 2008, signed with the Nashville Predators. Lightning fans are not happy to see him go.

Steven Stamkos, the longtime Lightning captain who helped lead the team to two Stanley Cups, has said goodbye to Tampa Bay after 16 seasons.

Stamkos was drafted by the Lightning in 2008 when he was 18 years old as a saving grace for the team. He quickly became a symbol not only for the team but also the Tampa Bay area. His face could be spotted on bus stops and at Amalie Arena throughout the NHL season.

Stamkos signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Nashville Predators after he could not come to terms with the Lightning on a contract to keep him with the team.

“You have hope until the last minute, and then when you don’t hear anything, or nothing changes, you have to be able to adapt and just make a decision,” Stamkos said. “That’s the toughest part, is trying to hang on to something that maybe isn’t trying to hang on to you.”

Stamkos posted a goodbye message Monday on X.

How Lightning fans are reacting:

After the news broke that Stamkos was moving on to Nashville, many Lightning fans went to social media to grieve the loss of the franchise's career leader in goals, points and games.

Some fans showed the impact Stamkos had on their upbringing in Tampa Bay:

Some shared video tribute to his relationship with teammates:

Some shared the loss they felt after watching Stamkos start a family in Tampa Bay:

And others just remember many of Stamkos' highlight-reel plays.

How Predator fans are reacting:

While Lightning fans mourn Stamkos' loss, many Predators fans shared their excitement about him joining Nashville.

Famous country music artist Jelly Roll shared his excitement in a video:

Some fans are fired up with the Predators' new lineup:

Some express a sense of peace knowing that Stamkos is now a signed Predator:

Stamkos is the Lightning's career leader in goals (555), points (1,137) and games (1,082) while ranking third in playoff points (101) and assists (51), second in goals (50) and fifth in games (128).

During his career, Stamkos is second in goals in the NHL, behind only Alex Ovechkin (690), and fourth in points, behind Sidney Crosby (1,302), Ovechkin (1,240) and Patrick Kane (1,212).

WUSF staff writer Rick Mayer contributed to this report.

Savannah Rude is the WUSF Stephen Noble Social/Digital News intern for summer 2024.