Is Yzerman already NHL's best GM?
In little more than two months on the job, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has hired a highly-coveted head coach (Guy Boucher), locked up perhaps the team's most popular player (Marty St. Louis) for the rest of his career, dumped an overpriced defenseman (Andrej Meszaros), acquired a goaltender (Dan Ellis) to compete for the starting job, brought back a veteran blueliner (Pavel Kubina) from the 2003-04 Cup team and acquired one of the league's most dangerous scoring wings (Simon Gagne).
So, is Steve Yzerman already the NHL's best general manager? That's the question posed by Ryan Lambert on Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy blog.
"Yzerman has proven ridiculously good at his job,'' Lambert writes. "Granted it's only been two months, but how many GMs around the league bat 1.000 on transactions for any 60-day period?''
Sure, Stevie Y was a Hall of Fame player for the Red Wings and spent a couple of years in Detroit's top-notch front office. But he's been so productive so quickly, it's easy to forget he's in his first stint as an NHL GM.
"Back in May, I wouldn't have thought any first-time GM could have come into a situation like Tampa's and swashbuckled his way to a front office, coaching staff and team like that in this short of a timeframe,'' Lambert writes. "But I guess Steve Yzerman's not just any first-time GM.''
Lambert is so enamored of Yzerman's moves, he's predicting a playoff berth, and possibly a postseason series win, for the Lightning.
"Suddenly, the Bolts are not the disaster they were a year ago, or even three months ago,'' Lambert writes. "They're a good team with solid, proven talent at every position (except goal, I guess). And they're going to impress people this year.''
[DIRK SHADD | Times (left); Getty Images (right)]