The Tampa Bay Lightning was named senior advisor to the general manager on September 11, 2018 and will begin his ninth season with the Lightning in 2018-19. Yzerman will report directly to general manager Julien BriseBois and will assist with all Lightning hockey operations decisions, including the coaching and scouting staffs, player procurement and development, as well as minor league affiliations and operations.
He was originally hired by the Lightning as vice president and general manager on May 25, 2010, making him the sixth GM in franchise history. He also served as alternate governor and reported directly to chairman and governor Jeff Vinik for the first eight years.
Yzerman was meticulous in his approach to running the Lightning's hockey operations department as general manager, with an emphasis on drafting and development. He helped lead Tampa Bay to the Eastern Conference Final in three of the previous four seasons, four times total during his tenure, as well as a trip to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, Yzerman remained methodical in the process and refused to sacrifice sustained, long-term success for the sake of short-term goals. Instead he focused on the draft and cultivating the team's young talent. That approach paid off as home-grown players such as Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Anthony Cirelli and others knocking on the door to the NHL now forming part of the team's young nucleus that has Tampa Bay poised for sustained success.
During the summer of 2018, Yzerman spent time focusing on internal needs. He started by signing defenseman Ryan McDonagh, acquired at the 2018 trade deadline, to a seven-year contract extension, keeping the former New York Rangers captain in Tampa Bay long-term. Yzerman then turned his attention to forward Nikita Kucherov, whose contract was set to expire during the summer of 2019, inking the skilled forward to an eight-year pact that runs through the 2026-27 season. In the meantime, Yzerman and his staff were also able to re-sign all the Lightning's restricted free agents, maintaining the organization's depth moving into the 2018-19 campaign and retaining the core of the roster that earned the best record in the Eastern Conference for the second time in franchise history in 2017-18.
Under Yzerman's guidance the Lightning accumulated a 192-108-28 record over the previous four seasons. The team's 192 wins are the fourth-highest total in the league during that time frame. Tampa Bay is the only team in the NHL to reach the Conference Finals in four of the previous eight seasons dating back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since 2011, the Lightning have played in 82 playoff games, the sixth-most in the NHL, while their 47 wins during that span rank tied for fourth. Their 60 playoff games played since 2015 rank third in the league, while their 36 wins are tied for second.
Prior to joining the Lightning, Yzerman, 53, spent four seasons as vice president with the Detroit Red Wings. During that time he worked closely with general manager Ken Holland, senior vice president Jim Devellano and then-assistant general manager Jim Nill on evaluating talent at both the professional and amateur levels. Yzerman is a four-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning three as a player (1997, 1998 and 2002) and another as a member of Detroit's management team (2008). Overall he spent 27 seasons with the franchise. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility.
After retiring from the game, Yzerman became an integral part of Hockey Canada's management team. He served as general manager for Canada at the 2007 and 2008 IIHF World Championships, bringing home gold and silver, respectively. He returned to the post at the 2013 tournament in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland. He then led Hockey Canada to a magical moment when his team defeated the United States in overtime to win the Gold Medal on home ice at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he served as executive director. He held the same position for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia with a similar result, as Team Canada again took Gold. Yzerman also won an Olympic Gold Medal as a player with Canada in 2002.