It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be keeping Jon Cooper in his current role as head coach, but historic collapses can make teams resort to drastic measures. Even after the team’s unbelievable loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lightning GM Julian BriseBois left zero doubt in his faith in Cooper, explaining that he would be trying to sign him to an extension today if he hadn’t already done so. “There’s no sense in looking for the next Coop when I have the original,” BriseBois told reporters including Caley Chelios at his season-ending media availability.
Cooper’s contract was set to expire before the two sides agreed to a three-year extension just before the start of the playoffs. Even though the team fell apart in four games against the Blue Jackets, they still had a historically-good regular season with a 62-16-4 record. Though he still doesn’t have a Stanley Cup on his resume, there is little doubt that Cooper is one of the best coaches in the league. In 508 career regular season games behind the Tampa Bay bench he has a 305-159-44 record and has taken the team deep in the playoffs three times including to a Stanley Cup Final in 2015.
The Lightning have plenty of decisions to make this summer when it comes to their roster, given the drastic raises that players like Brayden Point have earned, but they won’t be blowing things up. Cooper will still be behind the bench to try and take the team to a championship and will likely face very little controversy unless they get off to a horrendous start.