CBC News has reported this morning that former Detroit Red Wings player and current vice president of the Red Wings will be announced today as the sixth general manager in Tampa Bay Lightning history.
As recently as Friday most speculation for the Tampa Bay job seemed centered on broadcaster Pierre McGuire, but the signing of Yzerman seems a real coup for Tampa Bay.
A recent Hall of Fame inductee, Yzerman was the consummate leader during his playing career, helping resurrect a moribund Detroit franchise and start them off on a fifteen year success cycle that still continues through the 2009-10 season.
After retirement, Yzerman made a smooth transition into the Detroit front office in 2005 as vice president and alternate governor. In recent years Yzerman has acted as a major player in the team's hockey operations. In 2009 Yzerman was named executive director for the Canadian men's team for the 2010 Olympics and helped select the team that won gold in Vancouver in 2010.
Tampa Bay has been an unsettled franchise for a few seasons since their 2004 Stanley Cup championship but the signing of a presence as large and respected as Yzerman to take over the team can only be viewed as a huge step in the right direction.
The Lightning are coming off a twelfth place finish in the Eastern conference in 2009-10 but have a solid core and reasonable cap space heading into next season. Rookie Victor Hedman had a strong first season as a nineteen year old and sophomore Steve Stamkos was a revelation with fifty one goals and ninety five points . Tampa still has an unsettled goalie situation, where Mike Smith has been outplayed by UFA Antero Nittymaki, and must consider whether or not thirty year old Vincent Lacavalier's declining production merits his $7.8 million cap hit, but the Lightning appear headed in the right direction.