The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Tod Leiweke their new CEO, according to a release by the team on Monday. Leiweke leaves the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, where he held the same position.
You could have asked our Lightning blog, Raw Charge, about this potential hiring months ago and they really wouldn't have been all that shocked. Here's what Cassie McLellan wrote back in late April:
The only facts - actual facts - that we have so far are that the Detroit Red Wings have granted the Lightning permission to talk to Steve Yzerman, Dave Nonis said that he’d been approached and instead took the Toronto Maple Leafs offer, and that Tod Leiweke has acknowledged that there’s a great opportunity there with the Lightning but that he's happy where he's at. There was nothing about Leiweke being interviewed about the CEO position, or him even being approached to discuss it, despite the fact that the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL made a statement about how there’s no truth to the rumors.
Throughout this whole process, the only names that haven’t gone away are Yzerman and Leiweke – and both were mentioned at the very beginning.
Who knows how things will turn out in the end, of course, but I believe that Vinik is holding out for who he wants: Leiweke as CEO, and Yzerman as GM. For all we know, perhaps one is contingent upon the other. Leiweke might take the CEO job only if Yzerman is willing to be GM, or vice versa. It's hard to say how any potential negotiations are going, after all.
Leiweke has NHL experience. He's been involved in the Canucks front office and he served as the first president in the history of the Minnesota Wild.