Brian Lawton Named Lightning's Executive Vice President & General Manager
/ Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA BAY – Brian Lawton was elevated to the position of executive vice president and general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie announced today. Lawton was hired as the team’s vice president of hockey operations on June 25, 2008. He continues to oversee all aspects of the team’s hockey operations department, including player procurement and development and minor league affiliate relations.
“When we hired Brian, his role was not fully defined during our time of transition,” said Koules and Barrie upon making the announcement. “To Brian’s credit he led us from a hockey operations perspective through the ownership transition and has proven to be the insightful, steady, guiding force that we are confident will lead us on the ice to long- and short-term successes. We are excited to have him heading up the hockey operations department for us.”
Quickly after being hired, Lawton designed the strategy which has transformed the Lightning roster through trades and free agent signings. He has worked in conjunction with ownership to solidify Tampa Bay’s goaltending situation, enhance the talent level at the forward position and put cornerstones in place at defense while significantly improving the organization’s minor league depth.
“I appreciate Oren and Len for having the faith to bestow the title of general manager on me,” said Lawton. “I realize that I am one of just 30 to hold the position and I will do everything I can to drive the Lightning to a high level on and off the ice. At the same time, I know that success in hockey is a team effort and I appreciate everyone here that is working, collectively, to bring us back to an elite level.”
Before joining the Lightning, Lawton spent 14 years as a player agent, representing prominent NHLers such as Mike Modano, Mark Parrish and the Lightning’s Jeff Halpern. A native of New Jersey who grew up in Rhode Island, Lawton was drafted first overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1983 and he skated in 483 NHL games for Minnesota, the New York Rangers, Hartford, Quebec, Boston and San Jose, recording 112 goals and 266 points with 401 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games, registering a goal and two points.
He started his own firm, Lawton Sport and Financial, in 1994, and became a prominent agent, negotiating more than $300 million in player contracts. Named three times to The Hockey News’ list of the “100 Most Powerful People in Hockey,” Lawton eventually sold his business in 1998 to Octagon Athlete Representation, one of the United States' largest sports agencies. Based out of Minneapolis, Lawton became managing director of Octagon’s Hockey Division.
A graduate of Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Lawton is noted for being the first U.S.-born hockey player chosen first overall in the NHL draft. He represented the U.S. on several occasions, including the 1982 World Junior Championships, the 1983 Men’s World Championships, the 1984 Canada Cup, the 1987 World Championships and the 1988 Canada Cup.