The Penguins and Mike Sullivan have agreed to a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2023-24 season, Jim Rutherford announced on Friday.
Our Friday Insider that published at midnight kind of gave you a heads up on this. While many felt Sullivan's relationship with Rutherfordwas strained of late, and that the hiring of Calder Cup champion head coach Mike Vellucci for Wilkes-Barre was an indication of Sullivan's future, a source told our Dave Molinari that perception was not reality.
Now, the team has confirmed that notion in the most emphatic of ways.
Since replacing Mike Johnston behind the Penguins' bench in December 2015, Sullivan and the Penguins have made the playoffs in all four seasons and won two Stanley Cups. Sullivan is the first American-born coach in NHL history to win multiple Stanley Cups, the first coach to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since Scotty Bowman did it with the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998, and the second coach in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup in each of his first two seasons with a team, after Toe Blake did it in the 1950s.
Sullivan is 174-92-34 as the Penguins' head coach and ranks third all-time in franchise history in games coached (300) and wins (174). His .637 points percentage ranks second in team history.
Sullivan has tallied 38 postseason wins, second most all-time behind Dan Bylsma (43) in 13 fewer playoff games than Bylsma. The Penguins' 38 postseason wins is the most of any team over the past four years.
Under Sullivan, the Penguins have scored 994 goals, tied with the Lightning for the league lead over the past four seasons.
"Mike has done a great job delivering four, 100-plus point seasons with our team,” Rutherford said in a statement. “To win back-to-back Stanley Cups in this era speaks volumes of him as a coach. His instincts in managing the inter-workings of our team both on and off the ice has been impressive.”
Most recently, the Penguins were swept by the Islanders after going 44-26-12 with 100 points en route to a third-place finish in the Metropolitan division.
For the upcoming season, Sullivan will have plenty of new toys to play with, notably tradingPhil Kessel to the Coyotes for forward Alex Galchenyuk. The team also tradedOlli Maatta to the Blackhawks for forward Dominik Kahun and signed forward Brandon Tanev in free agency. Add in the drafting of hyped prospects in Samuel Poulinand Nathan Legare, and the foundation is set for Sullivan to regroup and to affirm the Penguins' faith in him following this extension.