TAMPA In a shocking move, the Lightning signed Steve Stamkos to a new contract. Have they lost their minds? The guy is creaky. He's pushing 21 years, 6 months old. He didn't even score 100 goals over the last two seasons, just 96.

This was a breakaway no-brainer: Stamkos, five years, $37.5 million. By the way, what were you making when we were 21? Feel free to include tips.

Even as free agency began with no deal, even as rumors flew, the Lightning and Stamkos slept like babies.

"I never even thought of looking anywhere else," Stamkos said.

"There was never a time I didn't think he was going to be in the lineup," general manager Steve Yzerman said.

Media, bloggers and tweeters and bears, oh my, still created Stamkos stories, especially in Toronto. I guess they have a lot of dead time up there. Hey, it's not like they could review the Maple Leafs' Stanley Cup run.

The Lightning have their own Cup run in mind, a little longer than the last one. Central to such thinking was inking Stamkos, though he'll still be an unrestricted free agent when he is 26. But he's a superstar in residence for five years. Maybe Stamkos and Josh Freeman grow old together in Tampa.

The question is who will join Stamkos — or can join him — as the Bolts try to keep winning.

With Stamkos aboard, and Marty St. Louis' contract extension kicking in next season, and Vinny Lecavalier's $10 million a season still the elephant in the rink, well, those three constitute a whopping $20.8 million cap hit.

The Lightning are around $57 million, or $15 million more than the Rays' payroll. We also hear the Bolts are interested in Jeremy Hellickson.