Leave it to a promotional ball hockey event in late July to stir up one of the hottest discussions in hockey. If that isn't a true sign of it being the offseason, I don't know what is. Steven Stamkos' appearance at said event, held in Toronto, afforded media in attendance the opportunity to ask him about another hot topic in sports: LeBron James returning home to Cleveland. It's relevant because in two years, Stamkos may have the chance to do the same, in a relative sense.

The Markham, Ontario native, like a lot of good Canadian boys, will be asked about the opportunity to go home anytime the term on their contract starts getting closer to its end. It's not unfair to ask, even with it two years in the distance. Especially not now in an NHL that has given more power than ever before to the players to dictate where they play thanks to parity in the salary cap.

In this age of social media where everything means something even if it means nothing, when Stamkos' verified twitter account favorited a tweet linking to a story asking if Toronto could have its own LeBron signing, it set off alarm bells. That also made the questions he was asked Wednesday in Toronto especially pertinent. Stamkos may not have even been the one clicking the little star from his account, but it was enough to cause a small uproar.

A player like Stamkos, one of the two most gifted goal scorers in the last decade (Alex Ovechkin being the other), is going to generate a lot of buzz no matter what. He has two years remaining on a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that selected him first overall in 2008.

“We'll see what happens. It's a couple years away," Stamkos said at the ball hockey event Wednesday in an interview with the Canadian Press about a possible homecoming in Toronto. "Right now I'm focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we've really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.”