Cooper came to the Lightning in March of 2013 and carries a 112-70-23 record since taking over as bench boss. His time there has been marked by success, including great development of the team’s young talent, a trip to the playoffs in both of the full seasons he’s been there and a trip to the Final last year, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Last season he coached the team to a 50-24-3 record, crossing 50 wins for the first time in franchise history and setting a team record with 108 standings points.
Cooper was additionally named a 2014 Jack Adams Finalist, arguably a bigger honor than winning, since winning seems to be a kiss of death in recent years. (2013, Paul MacLean. 2014, Patrick Roy. 2015, Bob Hartley.)
The 48-year-old Cooper is the NHL’s eighth youngest head coach. He’s climbed the ranks since entering the league with John Hynes (40), Jeff Blashill (41) and Dave Hakstol (47) all getting head coaching jobs since Cooper took over in Tampa.
The #TBLightning have signed head coach Jon Cooper to a multi-year extension.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 4, 2015
Cooper was in the final year of his deal and talks about an extension have been brewing for a long time, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
Throughout his career in the NAHL, USHL, AHL and NHL, Cooper has never coached a team with a losing record.
This extension takes care of one of a few contracts GM Steve Yzerman needs to work on this season. The elephant in the room being the lack of a new contract for team captain Steven Stamkos.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.