Congratulations to Steve Yzerman, you are walking into a situation where you only need to be better than Brian Lawton to be a success. First thing you’ll want to do is fix that carbon monoxide leak in the build that surely must have been the cause of the franchises stupidity for the past few seasons.
I know you’ll be tempted to make some big splashes right away with the on-ice product, but it’s probably the coaching staff that you’d be smart to start with. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that player development is the fabric of a great organization. Detroit has been the model of player development for years. I would argue that since your team is so deep in Goalie prospects, you might want to hire a top flight goaltender coach. I don’t pretend to know too much about who you’re dealing with, but with the trend of hiring AHL coaches for head coaches in the NHL, I can’t help but notice no one has been beating down the door in Norfolk. Maybe you can sneak a Grand Rapids assistant over here for yourself (not a bad going away present). Lastly, your name has bumped the Lightning to the top team perspective coaches want to play for, enjoy having the pick of the litter. FYI, Ken Hitchcock is not the pick of the litter. Remember you’re also responsible for filling seats, and in a (generously put) none traditional market, a fast, offensive driven product is to your best advantage. This probably narrows your search to Scott Arniel, Kevin Dineen, and Paul McLean. As a last point on coaching, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be getting rid of the existing assistant coach staff.
Now, because this is more or less a Leafs blog, how can a new GM in Tampa benefit the Toronto? Tampa much like Toronto needs a lot. Where Toronto is deep in capable defensemen and depth forwards, Tampa is deep in Top Six Forwards, and up and coming power forwards. From a Leaf perspective Ryan Malone is great option. He's salary is a bit of a burden in Tampa, but makes sense in Toronto. I assume Burke likes him, as he managed to make Team USA. The question is whether or not Yzerman has anyone on the Leafs he wants. I don't pretend to have any insight there, and honestly no one does, as he will remake the Lightning after Lawton drove them into the ground. I do however think it will be Malone who is the odd man out since St. Louis' value will be highest at the trade deadline, and Lecavalier's contract makes him unmoveable until he takes a step back in the right direction.
back later to bid farewell to Rickard Wallin