It’s a sign of the times and the uncertainty which surrounds the Pittsburgh Penguins offseason. Everyone from Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and even Jake Guentzel face questions about their return to the Penguins. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was no exception.
However, according to Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman, Sullivan will indeed return as the Penguins coach.
“He’s a heck of a coach. He’s under contract for three more years,” Friedman declared in the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada. “I’d expect him to be back behind the bench in Pittsburgh, in case anyone had any questions,”
The Penguins’ future was thrown into question when they failed to convert opportunities and lost their Round One series to the New York Islanders in six games. The loss was the third straight opening-round loss by the Penguins, including the 2020 Qualifying Round loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Penguins lost that best of five series in four games and didn’t put up much of a fight.
For three years, Sullivan has been just a few wins behind Dan Bylsma as the Penguins’ all-time winningest playoff coach. Bylsma has 43 career playoff wins with the Penguins. Sullivan has inched up to 41, with only three wins in the last three years.
Sullivan trails Bylsma by only 15 wins to be the Penguins all-time winningest coach in the regular season, too. On June 18, 2015, Sullivan was hired to be the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach. However, on Dec. 12, 2015, he replaced head coach Mike Johnston as the Pittsburgh Penguins bench boss.
The Penguins lost the first four games under Mike Sullivan but won the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup. In 2019, then-general manager Jim Rutherford signed Sullivan to a five-year contract extension which runs through the 2023-2024 season.
The Penguins won the East Division this season, and Sullivan is receiving significant buzz for the Jack Adams award as the league’s coach of the year.