Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper has 11 years under his belt as the head man behind the Lightning bench. He took over the team from former Lightning coach Guy Boucher who had the team on the brink of the NHL basement toward the end of the 2013 season.
The hire that took the Bolts away from Boucher was an “internal” one within the organization. Cooper had won a title in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals during the 2011-12 season. He also had a successful, winning season with the Syracuse Crunch the year after right before he got promoted.
What followed was the foundation of a hockey juggernaut in the state of Florida that has left Hall of Fame written all over his name when he does end up retiring.
Coach Cooper has led the Bolts to a winning season every year he has been with them. He has a career winning percentage of .602 in the regular season and has a career winning percentage of .593 in the playoffs.
He has led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the playoffs in nine of his 11 seasons. One of the two seasons he did not make it was his interim year taking over for Boucher.
He has led the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Final six times in 11 seasons and has lead the team to taking the coveted Prince of Wales Trophy four times (2015, 2020, 2021, 2022). He also is a back-to-back Stanley Cup champion in the years 2020 and 2021. This was the first two of three straight seasons in which he lead the Bolts to the Stanley Cup Final.
Cooper also holds a good handful of franchise records. He is the winningest coach in Tampa Bay history with 480 regular season wins and 84 playoff wins. He also leads the team in playoff games coached overall with 139.
Cooper also set the record for head coach that was the quickest to win 400 games. This came in his 659th game coached in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It is clear that coach Cooper has built a resume worthy of being placed among the greats in Toronto at the Hall of Fame. However, he still has plenty of coaching left to do.