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Cooper and Lightning Begin Extension Talks

According to Pierre LeBrun, the Tampa Bay Lightning have begun extension talks with long time head coach Jon Cooper.

After signing the GM to a new deal, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the Tampa Bay Lightning and head coach Jon Cooper have started discussions in regards to a contract extension.

Related: Canucks Finalize Contract Extensions With Hughes and Pettersson

Cooper, 54, is heading into the final year of his three-year deal that pays him $3.5 million annually. The fact that an extension is being discussed is of no surprise given that he has led the Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, and on top of that has had them atop the league standings for many years now.

Despite how smooth things are now between the two parties, however, that wasn’t always the case. After winning the President’s Trophy in 2018-19 after going 62-16-4, the Lightning were swept in the first-round in embarrassing fashion, leading many to believe Cooper would be fired. Thankfully for both his and the team’s sake, management chose to give him one final shot, and he has certainly made the most of it.

Cooper is highly regarded throughout the NHL and was recently named head coach of Team Canada for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics which will take place in Beijing. This is quite the honor given how many great Canadian coaches there are throughout the league.

Jon Copper Tampa Bay Lightning
Jon Cooper Tampa Bay Lightning coach || photo by Dolovis of wikimedia commons

Quite the Road for Cooper

Cooper is one of very few NHL head coaches who don’t have playing experience. His road to the NHL is quite unique, as he spent several seasons coaching in the North American Hockey League, before being promoted to the United States Hockey League. From there, he became the head coach of the Norfolk Admirals in the American Hockey League, and spent three seasons at that level before becoming head coach of the Lightning midway through the 2012-13 season. He has missed the playoffs just once in his eight full seasons with the Bolts, and has been to the Stanley Cup Final three times.

While Cooper won’t admit it as he doesn’t want to give other teams bulletin board material, his Lightning squad has a legitimate chance to make a run at a three-peat as Stanley Cup champions. Though they lost some good players this offseason, their main core remains intact and possesses some of the most elite players in the NHL. They will be a terror for teams to play against once again in the 2021-22 season.

Next: Robin Lehner Goes Off on the NHL, League Asks If He Wants Interview



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