"I was always planning to come out," Stempniak told the Herald. "But I'm optimistic that we can get a deal done and we can start playing. I'd like to be ready to go when that starts.
"I think I've been cautiously optimistic all along. The framework for a deal is there on both sides. It takes two sides to negotiate and work out a fair deal. Hopefully that day's coming when we can get on the ice again."
Stempniak has been skating with some of his teammates and several other NHLers at the WinSport Ice Complex in anticipating of camps getting underway next weekend.
"I feel like we had this conversation a month ago," he said. "Every couple of weeks it seems like there was a revised schedule, whether it was 72 games or a full season or 54 or 56 or something. I'm hopeful that we can get back playing and doing what we love to do."