The news broke about 1PM this afternoon and I had to read the news a couple of times to let it sink in and make sure I was reading it correctly.
Steve Yzerman the architect behind the Tampa Bay Lightning was stepping down as GM to move to an advivory role with the team. Yzerman has been the GM since 2010 and has taken the Lightning to 4 Eastern Conference Championships and One Stanley Cup final during his tenure.
The Lightning are once again favored to win the Stanley Cup again this season. Yzerman can also take satisfaction in knowing that he is leaving the organization in great shape. The Lightning‘s farm system is also currently one of the top rated farm systems in the NHL.
So why leave now? Why leave when you have the best job in the NHL? I think this is something that Yzerman has been thinking about for a while. Yzerman says he is stepping down for family reasons to spend more time with his three daughters who are in college and to spend more time with his wife in Detroit.
Yzerman’s wife who is from Detroit has stayed in the Motor City during Yzerman‘s reign as GM in Tampa.
The rumor mill will be churning these next few weeks and upcoming months as speculation is rampant that Yzerman will take over the GM reigns in Detroit when Ken Holland resigns. There is also speculation that Yzerman will be the new GM of the expansion Seattle hockey team. Former Lightning COO Tod Leiweke is the current CEO and President of the Seattle Hockey club, so a reunion is not out of the question.
Julien BriseBois was announced as the new GM of the Lightning. BriesBois and Yzerman have worked together since 2010 and lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik feels that BriesBois is ready for this role and is not expecting any drop off in the Lightning‘s performance.
BriesBois did a lot of the heavy lifting for Yzerman working on contracts, scouting reports, and salary cap issues all while successfully filling the GM duties of the Syracuse Crunch.
With training camp just two days away as preparations begin for 2018-19 season, everyone in the Lightning organization is confidant that BreisBois is ready for this nest step in his career.
Yzerman will go down as the best GM in the history of not just the Lightning, but in all of Tampa Bay sports. The only blemish on his Lightning resume is the fact that the Lightning never won the Stanley Cup under his tenure.
Yzerman will remain in an advisory role throughout this season as he finishes up the final year on his contract.
We wish Mr. Yzerman all the best in his future endeavors and a big thank you for making the Lightning relevant again in Tampa bay.