NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

The hockey world got some shocking news on Tuesday afternoon when Steve Yzerman informed the Tampa Bay Lightning that he was stepping down from his post as general manager.

Yzerman will reportedly stay with the team as a senior advisor, while assistant general manager Julien Brisebois will be promoted to GM.

Yzerman has served as the club's general manager (and VP) since 2010, becoming one of the most successful and well-respected executives in the league. The Lightning have reached the conference finals four times since Yzerman took over, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2015.

During a press conference Tuesday, the 53-year-old Yzerman said that his new role will allow him more flexibility to spend time with his family in Michigan.

"Over the course of the last couple of years, there's been moments to reflect on my situation," Yzerman said. "We wanted to get it done before training camp."

Though Yzerman plans to stick around in Tampa this season, there's not a lot of clarity beyond that. There's already plenty of speculation that he may have his eyes on a front office job with the Detroit Red Wings, the team he spent his entire Hall of Fame playing career with from 1983-2006. 

The Wings are currently under the helm of Ken Holland, who recently signed a two-year extension to remain general manager, but the club has struggled to find direction and momentum in recent years and a Yzerman/Detroit reunion could make a lot of sense. 

Regardless, this is a pretty stunning development in the hockey world given how well Yzerman has done in building a contender in Tampa. The Lightning are considered one of the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup this season.

In any case, the club will likely remain in good hands with Brisebois, who is considered to be one of the best secondary executives in the league. It was widely believed that he'd be in line for a general manager job soon, but the fact that it's happening now -- and in Tampa -- has caught many by surprise.