Detroit Red Wings fans have been pining to see their former long-time captain Steve Yzerman return to the Detroit Red Wings and take over for the maligned Ken Holland as general manager for years now.
But early this afternoon, that mood turned somber as reports began surfacing that Yzerman informed the players that he would be stepping aside as the general manager of the Lightning, a role that he has held since 2010. Then-owner Mike Ilitch reportedly wanted to move Holland to an executive role to make room for Yzerman, but Holland declined the promotion.
Yzerman had served as the Lightning's GM since 2010. Yzerman's family has remained in Detroit, and he commuted during his time on the job.
The 2018-19 Lightning carry high expectations; they are believed to be one of the preseason favorites in the Eastern Conference and once again a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. The team has reached the conference final three times and the Stanley Cup final once during his tenure.
Yzerman says he's becoming a senior adviser to BriseBois and the remainder of the front office.
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Yzerman said he was "100 percent committed" to the Lightning this season.
A person with knowledge of the move said Tuesday that Yzerman is leaving his post and will be replaced immediately by longtime assistant Julien BriseBois.
"We felt it was important to let everyone know what we were doing, end any potential speculation", Yzerman said.
Of course, Yzerman is best known for his Hall of Fame career with the Red Wings. He still has one year left on his contract with the Lightning, and he accepted an advisory role with the team after resigning as GM. He began his front office career as vice-president of hockey operations under GM Ken Holland in Detroit and was part of a Cup victor in 2008 before getting the head job with the Lightning. The Lightning was hoping to sign Yzerman to a contract extension until Tuesday's stunning news.