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Report: Lightning, Cooper open extension talks

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

The Tampa Bay Lightning and head coach Jon Cooper have begun discussing a contract extension, reports The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

Cooper is entering the final season of a three-year deal worth $3.5 million annually, according to LeBrun. Cooper inked that pact in March 2019.

The 54-year-old guided the Lightning to their second straight Stanley Cup championship in early July. About a month later, Hockey Canada named him bench boss of the nation's Olympic men's hockey team for next year.

Cooper also helped Tampa Bay reach the Cup Final in 2015 and the Eastern Conference Final in 2016 and 2018.

The NHL's longest-tenured head coach helmed the Lightning for the last eight full seasons and for 16 games in 2012-13. Tampa Bay hired Cooper to lead its AHL affiliate - then the Norfolk Admirals - in 2010, and he led them to the Calder Cup in 2011-12. After the Lightning changed affiliations for the following season, he began the campaign as head coach of the Syracuse Crunch before Tampa Bay promoted him.

Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers is reportedly the NHL's highest-paid head coach with a salary of approximately $6 million.

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