Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the team, according to The Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson on Twitter:
#tblightning have signed general manager Steve Yzerman to a four-year contract extension, had one year left on his deal— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) April 7, 2014
After confirming the extension in an official press release on the team's website, Lightning chairman and governor Jeff Vinik expressed the club's excitement:
Since the day Steve agreed to serve as our vice president and general manager, he has worked tirelessly to transform our hockey department and establish the groundwork for sustained success. We are very pleased with Steve's job performance thus far, and I am fully confident Steve remains the right person to continue to lead us.
Organizationally, we remain committed to playing at the highest levels each season - regularly competing for the Stanley Cup - and I am very pleased that Steve has elected to be our leader for the next several years.
The 48-year-old NHL legend and Hall of Famer has served in his current role since May 2010, managing Tampa Bay's hockey operations department and helping steer the franchise in the right direction.
Yzerman also spoke during the announcement, expressing his happiness in reaching a long-term deal, per the team's official website:
I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue the process we started four years ago and would like to thank Jeff Vinik for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading the Tampa Bay Lightning. I'm very excited about what lies ahead for our organization and truly enjoy working with a fantastic group of people in Tampa Bay.
Having already clinched a postseason berth in 2013-14, the Lightning will reach the playoffs for the second time since Yzerman took over. In his first season with Tampa Bay, the Lightning made the playoffs for the first time in four years and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Final before losing to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
The Lightning missed the postseason in each of the previous two seasons but have turned things around, ranking ninth in the league in goals per game and rising to the top four in the Eastern Conference standings.
Yzerman has clearly performed at a high level over the years, bringing in the right talent and pushing all the right buttons in the front office.
With a long-term deal to fall back on, the former Detroit Red Wings star will be under far less pressure this postseason. Although the Lightning's success in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs will ultimately be determined by the players on the ice and the moves made by the coaching staff, Yzerman's efforts behind the scenes have obviously played a crucial role to this point.
The Lightning are now 144-114-32 in four seasons under Yzerman's watch and will have high hopes for the future with a roster full of talent and a successful general manager to lead the way.
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