Tampa Bay Lightning to announce Steve Yzerman as its new general manager
The Tampa Bay Lightning finally will announce its new general manager at a 3 p.m. news conference, and all indications are that it is Steve Yzerman, who is believed to have received a five-year deal. The team has been very tight-lipped about the whole thing, but it let slip that the announcement is "worth the wait." Unless someone has slipped under the radar, the biggest name out there is the Red Wings vice president.
Yzerman, 45, has spent the past 27 years as a Hall of Fame center and executive with the Wings, and will have his first gig running an NHL team. He was executive director of Canada's 2010 gold-medal Olympic squad and was twice GM of teams Canada sent to the world championship, winning gold in 2007 and silver in 2008.
But many believed Yzerman would never leave Detroit, including former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman, who said last month he would be "surprised" if Yzerman left. On the other hand, Yzerman has stated his intention to find a GM job that was the right fit. And when it was recently announced that Red Wings GM Kenny Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill were to get contract extensions, it seemed as if Yzerman would have to go outside the organization to get his dream job.
The Lightning has been without a GM since April 12, when Brian Lawton was fired with coach Rick Tocchet. On that day, owner Jeff Vinik said he wanted a CEO and a general manager on board in 30 to 60 days. He also said he wanted a CEO in place before a GM since the GM will answer to the CEO. But with the draft only a month away, that strategy changed.
Also believed to have been interviewed are former Flames GM Doug Risebrough, Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton, Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall and former Lightning assistant GM Claude Loiselle. There were certainly others but Vinik and adviser Jac Sperling kept a tight lid on any press leaks.
One thing is for sure, Vinik has kept saying he wanted to put a "world-class" management team in place. Given Yzerman's accomplishments on and off the ice, he seems to have taken that first step.