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Brian R. Lawton (born June 29, 1965 in New Brunswick, New Jerseymarker and raised in Cumberland, Rhode Islandmarker) is the current general manager and executive vice president for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was also a former professional ice hockey player and player agent who played 483 games in the NHL between 1983 and 1992. During his career, Lawton played for the North Stars, New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks.

Professional Life

Lawton spent the summer of 2009 quietly re-tooling Tampa Bay's roster through a series of calculated and well-planned moves that restructured the blue line, added firepower up front and improved the overall depth of the organization. First, Lawton secured things behind the bench, removing the interim tag from head coach Rick Tocchet, then he added defensive specialist and Stanley Cup champion Rick Wilson as associate coach later in the summer. He then went to work re-tooling the roster, beginning with the signing of one of the top available free agents in defenseman Mattias Ohlund. He was also able to add defensemen Matt Walker and Kurtis Foster in free agency as well as forwards Alex Tanguay, Stephane Veilleux and goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

Lawton was able to add a young franchise player with the second overall pick in the 2009 draft when the Lightning selected Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman's selection came on the heels of the 2008 draft when Tampa Bay selected Steven Stamkos first overall. Stamkos went on to set the franchise record for most goals in a season by a rookie, with 23. The team's success under Lawton continued as he traded up to acquire a second pick in the first round for the first time in franchise history, selecting Carter Ashton. They were also able to select Slovakian Richard Panik, who was also high on the draft board, in the second round. Additionally, Lawton was able to build the organizational depth by acquiring Drew Miller, Todd Fedoruk and David Hale while still retaining the team's core of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger, Ryan Malone, Andrej Meszaros and Mike Smith.

Personal Life

Before joining the Lightning in the summer of 2008, Lawton spent 14 years as a player agent, representing prominent NHLers such as Mike Modano, Mark Parrish and the current Lightning forward Jeff Halpern, to name a few. A native of New Jersey who grew up in Rhode Island, Lawton was drafted first overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1983 and he skated in 483 NHL games over nine seasons for Minnesota, the New York Rangers, Hartford, Quebec, Boston and San Jose, recording 112 goals and 266 points with 401 penalty minutes. He also appeared in the Stanley Cup playoffs three times.

Having served four seasons as his team's player representative for the NHL Players Association, Lawton put that knowledge to use when he retired by becoming a player agent. He started his own firm, Lawton Sport and Financial, in 1994, and became a prominent agent, negotiating more than $300 million in player contracts.

Named three times to The Hockey News' list of the "100 Most Powerful People in Hockey," Lawton eventually sold his business in 1998 to Octagon Athlete Representation, one of the United States' largest sports agencies. Based out of Minneapolis, Lawton became Managing Director of Octagon's Hockey Division. With Octagon, Lawton built the second largest hockey agency in the NHL, with clients that included Bret Hedican, Keith Carney, Ryan Miller, and Kari Lehtonen.

A graduate of Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Lawton is noted for being the first United States - born hockey player chosen first overall in the NHL draft. He represented the U.S. on several occasions, including the 1982 World Junior Championships, the 1983 World Championships, the 1984 Canada Cup, the 1987 World Championships and the 1988 Canada Cup.

Playing career

He was drafted number one overall by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. A graduate of Mount Saint Charles Academymarker in Woonsocket, RImarker, Lawton is noted for being the first US-born hockey player drafted first overall in the NHL draft. He was also the first and, as of 2009, only US high school hockey player to be drafted first overall.

Lawton was ranked by NHL Central Scouting Bureau as No. 1 overall prospect for the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, and despite a reasonable NHL career that included 266 career points in 483 games, he is considered to be one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history. This is mainly in part because he was drafted ahead of players such as Steve Yzerman, Cam Neely, Tom Barrasso, and Pat LaFontaine.

In international hockey, Lawton played for the United States national team in the 1983 and 1987 Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments as well as the 1984 Canada Cup.

He was the only NHL player to ever wear #98. After retiring in 1993, Lawton went on to become a player agent representing NHL talent such as Mike Modano and R.J. Umberger.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1983–84 Minnesota North Stars NHL 58 10 21 31 33 5 0 0 0 10
1984–85 Minnesota North Stars NHL 40 5 6 11 24
1984–85 Springfield Indians AHL 42 14 28 42 37 4 1 1 2 2
1985–86 Minnesota North Stars NHL 65 18 17 35 36 3 0 1 1 2
1986–87 Minnesota North Stars NHL 66 21 23 44 86
1987–88 Minnesota North Stars NHL 74 17 24 41 71
1988–89 New York Rangers NHL 30 7 10 17 39
1988–89 Hartford Whalers NHL 35 10 16 26 28 3 1 0 1 0
1989–90 Maine Mariners AHL 5 0 0 0 14
1989–90 Hartford Whalers NHL 13 2 1 3 6
1989–90 Quebec Nordiques NHL 14 5 6 11 10
1989–90 Boston Bruins NHL 8 0 0 0 14
1990–91 Phoenix Roadrunners IHL 63 26 40 86 108 11 4 9 13 40
1991–92 San Jose Sharks NHL 59 15 22 37 42
1992–93 Kansas City Blades IHL 9 6 4 10 10
1992–93 San Jose Sharks NHL 21 2 8 10 12
1992–93 Cincinnati Cyclones IHL 17 5 11 16 30
NHL totals 483 112 154 266 401 11 1 1 2 12


References




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