‘As long as I’m coaching this team, I want Ryan Callahan on the bench,’ says Lightning’s Cooper

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With the Tampa Bay Lightning’s season now over, the discussion about the club’s future and that of its players will pick up.

Head coach Jon Cooper, who became a likeable character during the Lightning’s brief playoff experience, spoke highly of forward Ryan Callahan, who was acquired in the blockbuster deal for Martin St. Louis at the NHL trade deadline in early March and an unrestricted free agent this summer. His current three-year deal worth $12.825 million is set to expire.

(Video: Was trading Callahan worth it for New York?)

To put it simply: Cooper would love to get Callahan re-signed. Just one problem, and that is it’s a decision that’s not in his control.

That said, the 29-year-old Callahan made quite the impression with the rookie NHL bench boss, scoring six goals and 11 points in 20 regular season games, but going without a point in four playoff games.

“I really, really hope Ryan considers us as a place he wants to spend the rest of his career,” said Cooper, “because as long as I’m coaching this team, I want Ryan Callahan on the bench. I don’t know how much stronger I can be about that.”

Also, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said prior to the beginning of the playoffs that he would “love” to re-sign Callahan. So stay tuned.

You can see the entire media scrum, which lasted more than 16 minutes, below.