One of the most well-regarded general managers in hockey has left his post. Steve Yzerman, the architect of the one top teams in the Eastern Conference, stepped down from his position with the Lightning on Tuesday to fill a senior advisory role with the franchise.
Julien BriseBois, former assistant GM for Tampa Bay, takes over for Yzerman, who will still with the franchise for the final year of his contract before re-evaluating their relationship.
“I feel this change in role is important for me to allow me to spend more time with my family and to still make sure the Lightning is managed to the level everyone has come to expect,” Yzerman said in a press conference Tuesday. “We are all delighted that Julien is our next GM. He is more than ready.”
Yzerman, named of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players for his illustrious career with the Red Wings, joined the Lightning as GM in May 2010 after cutting his teeth as an executive in Detroit. Under his leadership, the Bolts became one of the league’s most successful franchises, including playoff appearances in four of the past five years and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015.
Among the notable players acquired during Yzerman’s tenure are top defenseman Ryan McDonagh, high-scoring winger Nikita Kucherov and Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy, in addition to talented young players like Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev. The team also retained superstars Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos on surprisingly affordable deals.
The Lightning enter the 2018-19 season as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, and Yzerman played a pivotal role in that. He also served as executive director for Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, where the team beat Sweden to win gold. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.