Yzerman, the architect of gold medal-winning Team Canada and currently an executive with the Detroit Red Wings, has engaged in numerous conversations about the job with new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his search team. It is believed Yzerman is still the front-runner for the job.
The Red Wings legend knows the opportunity with the Lightning -- led by all-star veterans Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, and building blocks Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman -- is a potentially golden one. A league source said Yzerman and Vinik have worked hard to see if they are on the same page about building a contender.
Yzerman is held in high esteem by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. There have been questions about Yzerman's willingness to leave Detroit for the unknown in Tampa Bay. Vinik has given Yzerman time to think it through.
Tom Kurvers, the assistant GM under fired boss Brian Lawton, is running the team's hockey operations in the interim. Kurvers and the team's scouts continue to plan for the draft in June. Maple Leafs assistant GM Dave Nonis withdrew his name when he was signed to a new contract by Brian Burke in Toronto.
If Yzerman does not get the job, Kurvers is a candidate as are a half-dozen executives with a wide range of experience and strengths. Beyond the Yzerman candidacy, Vinik and his search team have done a splendid job of going through the hiring process in near secrecy.
Unless your name is Yzerman.