According to multiple reports and coming first from Joe Smith at The Athletic, Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman will be stepping aside and taking an advisory role with the club. Assistant General Manager Julien BriseBois will take over the position.
Yzerman joined the Lightning in 2010, and in his time in Tampa, has led to the team to one of the best eras in the organization’s history. The Bolts have been to the Eastern Conference Finals or further four times under his guidance, including three out of the last four seasons. The team made it as far as the Stanley Cup Final in 2015.
While the Lightning have won a Stanley Cup, they’ve never had a multi-year stretch as successful as this most reason one and plenty of the credit goes to Yzerman. Under his leadership, the team has drafted well including Nikita Kucherov in the second round, Brayden Point in the third round, and Ondrej Palat in the 7th round. They’ve frequently made big trades such as the recent acquisitions of Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev. They’ve also made some smart free agent signings like Anton Stralman.
It hasn’t all been perfect, obviously, with the signing of Ryan Callahan and the trade for Braydon Coburn being low points, but overall, his resume has been stellar. Losing Yzerman will be a major change for the organization. To the fanbase, he was the face of this new version of the Lightning and he will be missed in that capacity.
BriseBois will take over the General Manager role immediately. He is one of the most qualified candidates in the league for the role so in that way, the Lightning are fortunate. He is oft-referenced as the person responsible for managing the salary cap for the Lightning and has done well in that regard.
Projecting how he will handle an expansion of duties is impossible but his promotion is the best possible outcome in a post-Yzerman world.
The obvious speculation is that Yzerman would want to return home to Detroit. But as of now, we have no indication to think that would be the case. The Red Wings recently extended their General Manager Ken Holland for two more seasons and Yzerman is still under contract in Tampa for one more season.
For those speculating about Detroit, here's what we know:— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 11, 2018
- Holland signed 2-year extension with the Red Wings in April
- per @JoeSmithTB, Yzerman has one year left on his deal w/TB
- There's an internal appetite to sort out future roles for current Detroit management group
The news comes as a bit of a shock with no indications that this was happening and the season about to start. We will update this story as the day goes on with any further information the team provides. They announced a press conference at 4 PM and we’ll be sure to bring you coverage of that as it happens.
Helene St. James is reporting that Yzerman told the team he was headed back home to Detroit. She doesn’t specifically say that the move is related to a position with the Red Wings and Yzerman has always had a home there.