TAMPA — Steve Yzerman announced this afternoon that he is stepping down after eight seasons as general manager of the Lightning.
Yzerman will stay in the organization for the 2018-19 season as an advisor to GM Julien BriseBois, the team's former assistant general manager.
Yzerman, 53, would not commit to anything beyond this season when asked about his decision at a news conference in Tampa. BriseBois and owner Jeff Vinik also were present.
Yzerman said he came to the decision in late July not to sign another contract as GM and that it took until now to iron out details on what to do next. Yzerman said BriseBois is "more than ready" to succeed him.
Yzerman said the decision will allow him to spend more time with his family.
Before coming to Tampa Bay, Yzerman spent 22 years as a Hall-of-Fame player in Detroit and nearly four years in the front office of the Red Wings.
He took over as Lightning general manager in May of 2010. Since then, he has guided Tampa Bay to five postseason appearances in eight season, including three trips to the Eastern Conference final and one trip to the Stanley Cup final.
Shock. Disappointment. Speculation. Here is some of the early social media reaction to the news that Steve Yzerman is stepping down as GM of the Lightning. #TBLightning #GoBolts @TBLightning #NHL #Yzerman @TB_Times https://t.co/mmcdeVya4y— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) September 11, 2018
His tenure is highlighted by two moments. One was a controversial trade of captain Marty St. Louis to the Rangers in 2014. The other signing Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to an eight-year, $68-million deal in 2016.
The move comes just as the Lightning, one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, sets to begin training camp on Thursday for the 2018-19 season.
BriseBois, 41, has been with the club since 2010 and, besides serving as Yzerman's assistant, has also been general manager of their American Hockey League affiliate Syracuse Crunch. Brisebois, a native of Greenfield Park, Quebec, is well-respected in the hockey world and was considered by many to be a future GM.
That future begins now with the Lightning.
What does Yzerman's future hold? Already there is speculation that he could end up being the eventual general manager of the Red Wings. But that is merely speculation at this point.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.