After a 65 day playoff tournament in two different NHL bubble cities, we finally have a Stanley Cup champion.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won their second championship in franchise history, defeating the Dallas Stars by a 2-0 score in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
And if there’s anyone who’s mostly responsible for putting together the championship roster, it would be none other than current Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman.
Yzerman took the job of Lightning GM in 2010, and helped transform the franchise into a yearly contender. Under his leadership, the Lightning drafted the likes of Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, as well as finding undrafted diamonds in the rough like Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde.
And his decision to draft Brayden Point in 2014 has paid massive dividends, as he’s developed into one of the games’s most clutch and valuable players.
Yzerman, who hired coach Jon Cooper, also laid the foundation for long-term success, locking up stars like Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman to long-term contracts, as well as acquiring franchise goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy 19th overall in 2012 (from a pick obtained from the Red Wings for Kyle Quincey).
He stepped down from the role prior to the 2018-19 season, immediately fueling speculation that he was gearing up for a return to the Motor City, which culminated in his being named GM in April of 2019.
Though he won’t be getting a championship ring this season, Yzerman’s fingerprints are all over this year’s Stanley Cup champions. We’re certainly looking forward to him building a winning team here in Hockeytown – again.