Penguins extend head coach Mike Sullivan for 3 seasons

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has been rewarded with a contract extension. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has been rewarded with a contract extension. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) (USA TODAY Sports)

Rumoured change in Pittsburgh has been greatly exaggerated.

In an offseason spent re-signing long-serving members of the franchise, the Penguins have now agreed to terms on a contract extension with head coach Mike Sullivan.

His new deal is for an additional three seasons, which will run the partnership through the 2026-27 season. The second-longest tenured coach behind only Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sullivan's paid term will last at least 12 seasons — or an eternity in the NHL.

"Mike is one of the top coaches in the NHL and it was important for us to have him signed long term," Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said in a release. "He is a great leader that finds success through communication, honesty and accountability. We know that Sully is committed to continuing a winning culture here in Pittsburgh."

Sullivan was not among potential candidates to move onto a new chapter like Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Bryan Rust seemed, but the move signals further long-term investment in the current framework after suggestions that ownership could usher in a new era.

Sullivan is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins and is coming off another impressive season at the helm. Pittsburgh finished with 103 points and the Metropolitan Division's third-best record after Sullivan orchestrated some efficient five-on-five and special teams play.

The 54-year-old boasts a 297-156-54 record behind the Penguins' bench and has steered the team to 100-point campaigns in each of his five full 82-game seasons as head coach.

Postseason success has eluded the Penguins in recent seasons, however, with the club suffering four consecutive first-round defeats — including one in the qualifying round of the 2020 Toronto bubble. The most recent was a seven-game series loss to the New York Rangers last May after building a 3-1 series advantage.

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