Guy Boucher doesn't expect the media storm surrounding the future of Steven Stamkos to die down any time soon.
"It's going to grow bigger and bigger," said Boucher. "It's big because Stammer's big."
Stamkos is in the final year of his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning and could become an unrestricted free agent in July if he doesn't agree to an extension, leading many to speculate that the Toronto Maple Leafs will take a run at signing the sniper who grew up in nearby Markham, Ont.
Boucher coached Stamkos for parts of three seasons with the Lightning, including his 60-goal, 97-point campaign in 2011-12, and said the hysteria isn't a surprise.
"He's a big name, he's a big player, he's an idol for a lot of people," Boucher said from Switzerland where he's getting ready to coach Canada at the Spengler Cup. "It's Toronto so that's as big as it gets."
The speculation hit a fever pitch last week when the Lightning visited the Maple Leafs on the heels of Stamkos "liking" a tweet that mused about Toronto pursuing Tampa Bay's captain in the off-season.
Stamkos, who had 14 goals and 11 assists heading into Tuesday night's action, said his actions on Twitter were accidental.
The Canadian Press