Detroit -- Steve Yzerman is in the news again.
The Flyers and team CEO Dave Scott say Yzerman is a candidate to take over as GM -- though Scott admits convincing Yzerman to take over for the fired Ron Hextall in Philadelphia is a long shot.
“Look, the Philadelphia Flyers are big-game hunters, and you’re the Flyers, you’re going to ask about Steve Yzerman,” said Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada analyst. “You have to do your due diligence.”
But the predominant theory around the hockey world is that Yzerman will return to the Red Wings at some point -- after he is out of his contract with Tampa on July 1.
“Anything can happen in professional sports, but I would bet most of us would think it will happen someday,” Friedman said of Yzerman returning to Detroit.
The Flyers would be a good fit for Yzerman in some ways, if he were to consider Philadelphia an option.
Yzerman took on a new role in the Tampa organization in September, stepping down as general manager, to be closer to his family, which still resides in Metro Detroit.
Philadelphia would be a closer flight than Tampa, and the Flyers have the pieces in place to be competitive fairly quickly.
“It’s a great organization, great tradition, stable ownership, and they have check a lot of the boxes that Stevie would be looking for,” said Kevin Weekes, NHL Network analyst. “But do they have as many boxes checked off as Detroit?
“If you take Stevie at his word, about being closer to his family, and I know that’s important to him, I just think the Red Wings is where he’ll land ultimately.”
The Flyers reportedly have four candidates for the GM job.
“I spent some time in Detroit, and I know Yzerman a little bit,” Scott told Philly.com. “My sense is he's pretty committed to someday getting back to Detroit. I think his family is still there. He really put roots down there, and (Red Wings GM) Kenny Holland is getting to a point in his life he's probably going to do different things someday.”
The Wings extended Holland, 63, for two more seasons, and Holland has shown no inclination toward retirement or moving to a consulting position in the organization
Holland has been the Wings’ general manager since 1997, and been a part of four Stanley Cups with the Wings.
“They have a lot of respect for each other,” said Friedman of the relationship between Yzerman and Holland. “It is business, though. There is time, it’s not like they have to do anything right away.
“They’d have to figure out how to make it all work.”
Yzerman, 53, is contractually bound to the Lightning – he is doing consulting work for them currently – until July 1, at which point he’d be free to work wherever he wants.
Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, has been asked about Yzerman on several occasions in the past few months, but has declined to talk about an employee of another organization.