Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman talks with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

7. Steve Yzerman Comes To Tampa Bay

Date: May 25, 2010

The Tampa Bay Lightning has had a number of people take the reins as General Manager since the Lightning inception in 1992, but any fan who still follows the franchise today knows that one of the greatest people to ever take up the role of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager is the one we have right now, Steve Yzerman.

After purchasing the team just a few months earlier, Tampa Bay Lightning Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik had a lot of work to do. One of those things was finding a new General Manager for the team. Vinik knew there was only one man for the job, Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman.

After spending 22 years in the National Hockey League as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman would announce his retirement from the on-ice portion of his career on July 3, 2006. In addition to his tremendous on-ice contributions, Yzerman served as captain of the Red Wings since 1986.

At first, Yzerman would not venture very far from home. Yzerman was soon named the Vice President of the Detroit Red Wings organization. Fortunately for those of us here in Tampa Bay, Yzerman’s front office career with the Red Wings would not be as extensive as his on-ice career.

Yzerman’s experience in the front office of the Detroit Red Wings is one of many reasons Vinik chose Yzerman for the job, and since taking over he has continually proven that he was the right man for the job. One of Yzerman’s greatest contributions to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization is what he has been able to do with the Lightning’s developmental system.

Yzerman has worked his magic, what some people refer to as the Yzer-Plan, and created a vast amount of depth for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yzerman is responsible for bringing players like Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and a number of the Lightning’s other top players into the organization.

In fact, just one season after taking over the team, the Tampa Bay Lightning would find themselves in a deep playoff run, which took the Tampa Bay Lightning within one game of becoming the 2011 Eastern Conference Champions and playing for the Stanley Cup. This was the best post season run the Lightning had experienced since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.

After a short rebuilding phase, the Tampa Bay Lightning would once again find themselves in a position to fight for the Stanley Cup. Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning defied all the non-believers and defeated the New York Rangers to become the 2015 Eastern Conference Champions and play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.

It was at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season when the rest of the National Hockey League would finally take notice of Yzerman’s skills as General Manager. After the Lightning’s long Stanley Cup Playoffs run, the Lightning General Manager would be named 2015 NHL General Manager of the Year at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Those same skills Yzerman has employed during his time here with the Tampa Bay Lightning would be greatly put to the test in the 2015-16 season. As most of you are painfully aware by now, the Tampa Bay Lightning has suffered a ridiculous amount of injuries to some of the key players in the Lightning’s offense. It is those players Yzerman so skillfully cultivated that has allowed the Tampa Bay Lightning to forge on and continue to fight and claw for an eventual spot in the post season.

Having won the Stanley Cup four times with the Detroit Red Wings over the course of his career, Yzerman knows what it takes to win at the highest level in the game of hockey. This is why it makes us here at Bolts By The Bay overflow with joy that Yzerman will remain under contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning until the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Hopefully at that point he will be poised for a long-term extension.

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