Lightning optimistic about extending Yzerman beyond next season
Scott Audette / National Hockey League / Getty

The Tampa Bay Lightning want the Steve Yzerman era to continue.

The Lightning general manager is set to enter the ninth and final season of his contract in 2018-19, but team owner Jeff Vinik remains optimistic that he'll ink "Stevie Y" to an extension as soon as this offseason, according to Joe Smith of The Athletic.

Based on Yzerman's comments, it doesn't appear that it will be a long negotiation, either.

"Working for Jeff has been fantastic," Yzerman told Smith. "It's a tremendous position and I'm grateful to have it."

Yzerman is the NHL's sixth-longest-serving GM after being hired in May 2010. Prior to joining the Lightning, he spent four seasons as the vice president of hockey operations with the Detroit Red Wings.

Since arriving in Tampa Bay, Yzerman has transformed the Lightning into a perennial contender, with one Stanley Cup Final appearance and three other trips to the third round of the postseason.

The Lightning also boast an impressive roster that Yzerman has neatly packed under the salary cap by giving team-friendly extensions to the likes of Steven Stamkos ($68 million over eight years) and Victor Hedman ($63 million over eight years), among other deals.

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Lightning optimistic about extending Yzerman beyond next season
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