In one of the more unbelievable turns of the offseason, Joe Smith of The Athletic is reporting that Steve Yzerman will step down as General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning and move into an advisory role. Julien BriseBois, currently the Assistant General Manager and a target for many years by other teams around the league, will move into the vacated position. Yzerman has just one year remaining on his contract with the Lightning, but cited family reasons for his departure from the GM role.
Understandably, the first reaction to this move will be to look at the Detroit Red Wings as Yzerman’s next destination. The legendary forward started his managerial career with the Red Wings after retirement, and has been linked—however tenuously—to the organization ever since. Smith and Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press are reporting that Yzerman told Lightning players that he was “heading back to Detroit” but it’s not clear if that means a job is waiting, since he also still has a home in the area. Ken Holland, the current GM of the Red Wings signed a two-year extension earlier this year and has still shown no indication that he is ready to move on to a more senior role.
Yzerman has done a wonderful job with the Lightning since taking over in 2010, signing their homegrown stars to team-friendly contracts and bringing in plenty of surrounding talent. The Lightning are a perennial Stanley Cup contender and should be for the foreseeable future. For now, he says that he is completely committed to the Lightning organization for the remainder of his contract, though wouldn’t go into things down the line.