Lightning hire Lawton to oversee hockey ops Staff

6/25/2008 10:51:02 AM

Former NHL player and ex-player agent Brian Lawton has been hired to be the new vice president of hockey operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Sources tell TSN Lawton will oversee all aspects of the Lightning's hockey operations for new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

General manager Jay Feaster will remain as part of the management team. 

Lawton was the first U.S. high school player ever chosen first overall in the NHL Entry Draft by Minnesota in 1983, ahead of other notable players such as Steve Yzerman, Cam Neely and Pat Lafontaine. He played 10 seasons in the NHL with the North Stars, Rangers, Whalers, Nordiques, Bruins and Sharks, collecting 112 goals and 266 points in 483 career games.

Following his playing career, Lawton turned player agent representing the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Mike Modano and R.J. Umberger. He recently quit the player-agent business in order to pursue a front office position with an NHL franchise.

The Lightning have confirmed that Director of Player Personnel Bill Barber will leave the team, effective July 1st.

"Bill Barber was an integral part of our success during the past six seasons and his recommendations on player personnel helped us win the Stanley Cup in 2004," said Feaster.

"Billy approached me at various times during the season and complained of the wear and tear the travel was taking on him, and he told me at the end of the season that he needed time to reflect on whether he wanted to continue in his role.

"He then sat down with me at the Draft in Ottawa and told me he was resigning so that he could spend more time with his children and grandchildren and also because the travel had worn him down. I wouldn't 'accept' his resignation, but I regretfully 'acknowledged' it, and now we all wish him the very best in the next stage of his life."

Barber, a member of the NHL Hall of Fame, joined the Lightning prior to the 2002-03 season after 18 years as a coach and scout in the Philadelphia Flyers organization.