Brian Lawton was officially named the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Lawton, 43, will perform the duties handled by Jay Feaster, who resigned July 11 with three years remaining on his contract.

"I realize that I am one of just 30 to hold the position, and I will do everything I can to drive the Lightning to a high level on and off the ice," he said. "At the same time, I know that success in hockey is a team effort and I appreciate everyone here that is working, collectively, to bring us back to an elite level."

Lawton has been with the Lightning since June 25, when he was hired as vice-president of hockey operations by the new owners, Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

"When we hired Brian, his role was not fully defined during our time of transition," Koules and Barrie said in a statement released Wednesday.

"To Brian's credit, he led us from a hockey operations perspective through the ownership transition and has proven to be the insightful, steady, guiding

force that we are confident will lead us on the ice to long- and short-term successes. We are excited to have him heading up the hockey operations department for us."  

The Lightning selected Steven Stamkos first overall in the June draft, made a host of free-agent signings and trades over the off-season and brought in Barry Melrose as head coach. 

Melrose, who spent the past dozen years as a television analyst, earned his first win of the season Tuesday night as Tampa Bay beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 in overtime.

"This is probably a really important win for us," he said. 

The Lightning (1-2-3), whose five losses have all been by one goal, next play the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

With files from the Associated Press