The Tampa Bay Lightning signed coach Jon Cooper to a multiyear expansion, the club announced on Tuesday.
Cooper’s contract had been due to expire by the end of the season. It’s unclear how long the expansion operates.
Cooper, 51, originally was named Tampa Bay’s coach in 2013 and is currently the NHL’s longest-tenured coach. He is the franchise’s all-time pioneer for wins with 301.
The Lightning clinched the Presidents’ Trophy to your league’s best record earlier this month — before any Eastern Conference team even secured a playoff spot. Tampa Bay secured the Presidents’ Trophy in 73 games; only the very 199596 Detroit Red Wings reached that feat faster over the previous 3 decades.
Tampa Bay now has a target differential of plus-100, which could indicate the NHL’s highest as the 200506 Ottawa Senators ended at plus-103.
“His ability to forge impactful relationships with every one else from players to staff was a part of his tenure with the organization and he could be the absolute best coach for our hockey team,” general manager Julien BriseBois said in a statement. “Coop’s ability to develop a powerful culture whilst continually adapting has been a huge part of the team’s success. He has helped establish high standards for our firm together with his unrelenting drive for excellence”
Since Cooper’s first full season in 2013-14, no other team has more wins (297) or even standings points (635) compared to Tampa Bay. Since the 2014 post-season, the Lightning have played at the second-most playoff games in the NHL, tracking just the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Lightning have caused it to the Eastern Conference finals in three of the previous 4 seasons. They were knocked out in a year’s conference final by the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals. The Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup Final to Chicago at 2015.
Tampa Bay enters the postseason as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup; it’d be the franchise’s first since 2004.