Yz­er­man: low pro­file, flashy re­sults

Tampa Bay Times - - Morning Briefing - BY TOM JONES Times Sports Colum­nist

WASHINGTON — He likely won’t win, but it’s no sur­prise that the Light­ning’s Steve Yz­er­man was named a fi­nal­ist for the NHL’s gen­eral man­ager of the year.

The award prob­a­bly will go to Ge­orge McPhee, who has or­ches­trated the ex­pan­sion Golden Knights to within two vic­to­ries of the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal. The Jets’ Kevin Chevel­day­off is the other fi­nal­ist. All three GMs have their teams in a con­fer­ence fi­nal.

Yz­er­man has kept a low pro­file through the play­offs, rarely speak­ing to the me­dia be­yond the pleas­antries of “good morn­ing” and “good night.” Keep­ing a low pro­file has been his style since join­ing the Light­ning in 2010, and you can’t ar­gue with the re­sults.

In his eight sea­sons as GM, Yz­er­man has led the Light­ning to the play­offs five times. The Light­ning has reached the con­fer­ence fi­nal four times. And since the GM of the year award came into be­ing in 2010, Yz­er­man has been a fi­nal­ist three times, win­ning in 2015.

And look at some of the shrewd moves he has made with this sea­son’s ros­ter:

He, with the help of sen­sa­tional head scout Al Mur­ray, drafted Nikita Kucherov, Bray­den Point, On­drej Palat and An­drei Vasilevskiy, with only Vasilevskiy be­ing a first-rounder. He signed un­drafted free agents Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde. He has signed vet­er­ans such as An­ton Stral­man, Chris Ku­nitz and Dan Gi­rardi.

He made block­buster trades for Mikhail Ser­gachev, Ryan Cal­la­han, Ryan McDon­agh and J.T. Miller. He traded goalie Ben Bishop to make room for Vasilevskiy. And he hired coach Jon Cooper. One more thing: He has stock­piled all kinds of solid prospects in the mi­nors.

It’s no sur­prise Yz­er­man is con­sid­ered one of the best GMs in hockey.

Steve Yz­er­man

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