With Nonis out, the Tampa Bay Lightning's search for a GM gets even more interesting
When Maple Leafs assistant general manager Dave Nonis on Tuesday signed a contract extension to stay with Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemingly lost a potential candidate for its GM job. But how will this affect the presumed candidacy of Steve Yzerman?
The Red Wings vice president is believed by many to have the inside track if he wants the job. But Yzerman has been quoted saying any job would have to be perfect for him to leave Detroit, where he has been a player and executive for 27 years. He also has said taking his family out of the Detroit area would be difficult. Scuttlebutt also has begun that Yzerman may be more inclined to stay with the Wings.
A call to Red Wings spokesman John Hahn got only a reply that Yzerman will continue not speaking publicly on the matter. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, one of the only reporters Yzerman has commented to at all, reported he also failed to get any fresh insight.
Even the quotes Yzerman has given have not provided many clues as to what he will do. For example, Yzerman recently told LeBrun, "I'm very lucky and happy to have a position with Red Wings. I would love to run a team one day and realize I will have to leave here to do that. But the situation has to be right, for me and my family. Believe it or not, being a part of this organization and living in Detroit is something I cherish. If the right opportunity presents itself, I would definitely consider it."
Whether that includes the Lightning is anyone's guess.
Said Detroit owner Mike Ilitch on a recent radio interview: "Stevie Y wants to become a GM; we'd love to have him as a GM. I keep telling (GM Kenny Holland), 'Hey, I want to move you up to president.' He goes, 'I don't want to be a president, I want to be a GM.' So he's going to stay there as GM."
Holland has one year remaining on his contract, but the Detroit News reported that Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said Holland and assistant general manager Jim Nill will be signed to extensions after the playoffs. Will that force Yzerman's hand?
"A lot of people call me and want to interview him," Ilitch said. "He's pretty much in demand, right now."
The Lightning also apparently has had at least preliminary conversations with former Wild GM Doug Risebrough and TSN analyst Pierre McGuire. Whispers former Lightning GM Jay Feaster may be in the mix seem to have little backing them up.