Yzerman resigns as Tampa Bay GM, returns to Detroit area
Steve Yzerman: “This new position will allow me to spend more time with my wife and three daughters who live and attend college in cities in the northern United States.”
Steve Yzerman wants to spend more time with his family.
So he is stepping down as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning just before NHL training camps begins.
He will serve in an advisory capacity for the team in the final season of his contract based from the home he has continued to maintain in the Detroit area.
"To do the job the way it needs to be done and to be with my family as well, it's becoming difficult to do," Yzerman said at a press conference in Tampa on Tuesday. “This new position will allow me to spend more time with my wife and three daughters who live and attend college in cities in the northern United States.”
Yzerman, 53, has been Tampa Bay’s general manager since 2010, and the team has become one of the best in the NHL. He was named general manager of the year in 2014-15, when the Lightning advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tampa Bay has reached the Eastern Conference final on two other occasions, including last season, when it lost in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
The Lightning eliminated the the Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Yzerman was also the general manager of Canada’s Olympic teams that won gold medals in 2010 and 2014.
He spent his entire 22-season Hall of Fame playing career with the Red Wings, helping Detroit win three Stanley Cups, and he was the longest-serving captain in NHL history (19 seasons). Yzerman’s 1,063 assists are the most in franchise history, and his 692 goals and 1,755 points are second to only Gordie Howe. Yzerman won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP when the Wings won the Cup in 1998.
After retiring as a player in 2006, Yzerman spent four seasons as an advisor to Detroit GM Ken Holland and was in that position when the Red Wings won their most recent Stanley Cup in 2008.
Of course, Yzerman’s move fuels speculation that he will eventually return to the Red Wings organization and possibly succeed Holland as GM. But Holland signed a two-year extension in June.
"As I’m sure you’re aware, per NHL rules and our own long-term policy, I can’t comment on personnel who are under contract with another organization," Red Wings and Tigers owner Chris Ilitch told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday when asked about Yzerman’s potential return to the organization.
When Detroit last won the Cup in 2008, and when it reached the Stanley Cup Final the following season, Holland had the assiatance of Yzerman and former Wings coach Scotty Bowman as advisors/consultants and input from longtime assistant general manager Jim Nill.
But Bowman moved on to the Blackhawks, where his son, Stan, is GM, and Nill left to become the GM of the Dallas Stars.
It is possible that Yzerman could return to the Red Wings in some capacity after his contract with Tampa Bay expires after this season.
"In the role I am in, I am 100 percent committed this year, and we are going to do everything we can to win and have as successful a season as possible," he said. "Beyond this year, I don't have an answer."
Meanwhile, Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois will assume the role of GM.
Said Yzerman: "I will be wherever I'm needed to be for Julien moving forward.”