Detroit, MI — April 19, 2019
Steve Yzerman has always been a Red Wing at heart.
When he left Detroit in 2010 to become the Tampa Bay Lightning’s vice-president and general manager is was a career move he had to make. The Red Wings front office was well established, the franchise was consistently competitive and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs every year. In moving to Tampa, Yzerman took a job with an organization that was the complete opposite of the Red Wings.
During his time in Tampa, Yzerman built the Lightning into one of the premier organizations in the National Hockey League. He assembled a team that this past season won 62 games, matching the 1995-1996 Red Wings for the most wins in league history. He turned one of the doormats of the league into perpetual playoff and Stanley Cup contender.
Resigning in Tampa
Last year Yzerman announced he was stepping down as the GM in Tampa. He had one year remaining on his contract and would serve in an advisory capacity to the team. Immediately the rumors began that this move was in preparation for his return to Detroit.
Today at a 3:00 pm press conference the Red Wings will make it official, naming Steve Yzerman as their new General Manager. Current GM Ken Holland will move to an upper management position with the team. More so as a reward for his years of service to the organization than the job he has done the past few years in his current position.
When Yzerman accepted the Tampa job, the Red Wings were everything the Lightning hoped to become. Now the Lightning is the organization that NHL teams strive to emulate.
Yzerman will likely apply his master plan the same way he did in Tampa. Signing a few solid veterans who can provide leadership on the ice as well as in the locker room. Building a scouting staff that recognizes true hockey talent. Drafting smart, trading smart, and wisely signing free agents. Everything Detroit needs, everything Red Wing fans want.
Leadership and Authority
The only way this move can fail is if the Red Wings do not give Stevie Y. the capacity to control all hockey operations for the club. They would be foolish to restrict his ability to rebuild in his own style, given what he has proved he is capable of. Don’t expect that to happen. It’s doubtful, even given his love for the Red Wings, that Yzerman would have returned with his hands tied.
Several weeks ago it was rumored Yzerman was talking to the New York Rangers. Was that a ploy to seal the exact deal he wanted with Detroit? Yzerman will succeed. He may one day be recognized as the greatest team executive of all time. Don’t be surprised if his return to the Red Wings also includes a share of ownership in the franchise. Whether that is announced now or at some future date.
Red Wing fans rejoice, the Captain is back in the fold. All is right in Hockeytown.