(WXYZ) — On Tuesday night, the NHL's best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and that means Steve Yzerman's time with the Lightning is almost over. In September, Yzerman announced he was stepping down as the team's general manager and would take on a senior adviser role with the team, with only one year left on his contract.
After the announcement, Detroit Red Wings fans saw this as a sign that Stevie Y would return to the Detroit Red Wings when his contract was up, and with the Lightning loss, does that mean an announcement is imminent?
When the announcement was made, Yzerman said he would be with the team until the end of the 2018-19 season, but "after that, I don't know."
Yzerman also said the move to a senior adviser was so that he could "spend more time with my family," and he still owns a home in metro Detroit where his family lives. In "The Russian Five" documentary, Yzerman is even seen sporting an Oakland Hills Country Club polo.
He played more than two decades with the Red Wings and also spent several years in the team's front office when his career was over.
In March, Lightning General Manager Julien BriseBois told NHL.com that he talked with Yzerman about his future during the middle of the season.
"He said he still wanted to give it some thought, and we'd revisit after the season," BriseBois said.
BriseBois also told NHL.com that he thinks Yzerman wanted to take the year before deciding what his next move will be, but he did attend most of the Lightning games.
"He's missed maybe a handful of home games. He's been at pretty much every home game," BriseBois said. "Usually when we're home for a homestand, he comes in from Detroit. He's been at some of our road games. I went and scouted with him to a number of (American Hockey League) weekends, junior games. So, he's been very involved."
Current Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland still has one year left on his contract, and said during locker room clean-out last week , "I'm going to be the manager of this team until I'm not the manager of this team."
He also discussed his relationship with Yzerman, saying they laugh about the rumors and that he is aware of the rumors. Holland said he calls Yzerman a friend .
“You remember how you have those best friends in high school and then you all go your separate ways? You see each other 10 years later, and all of a sudden you reconnect? You don’t miss a beat. Steve Yzerman and Ken Holland don’t miss a beat. Jim Nill and Ken Holland don’t miss a beat. Mike Babcock and Ken Holland don’t miss a beat. Those guys are all friends of mine," he said.
Detroit Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch also commented on the Yzerman rumors, sort of.
Ilitch told Chris McCosky of The Detroit News that the team has not reached out to Yzerman, because he is under contract and they don't talk with executives who are under contract with a different team.
"There's not a lot I can say about that other than I know his contract is expiring this summer, and leave it at that," Ilitch told The Detroit News .
Yzerman has been linked to other jobs, worrying some Detroit Red Wings fans. In November, it was reported that the Philadelphia Flyers were looking at Yzerman to be the team's next general manager.
Also, a report from the New York Post said that Yzerman was "amenable to being wooed by the Rangers to succeed Glen Sather as team president."
Yzerman has built an incredible team in Tampa Bay, despite them never winning the Stanley Cup. He drafted one of the league's leading scorers, Nikita Kucherov, in the second round in 2011. Kucherov has 41 goals and 87 assists this season, which was his second with 100+ points. He was also able to re-sign the team's star, Steven Stamkos.
Either way, 7 Action News and WXYZ.com will provide you updates as we learn about Yzerman's future.