TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired NHL coaching veteran Todd Richards to serve as assistant coach on Jon Cooper’s staff, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Richards, 49, brings more than 400 career games of NHL head coaching experience with him to Tampa Bay. He’s compiled a career record of 204-183-37 during seven seasons as a bench boss, including parts of five seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets and two with the Minnesota Wild. Richards most recently served as head coach of the Blue Jackets, registering a record of 127-112-21 over five seasons, including back-to-back 40-win seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He has more wins than any coach in Columbus team history and was the franchise’s first coach to record three consecutive winning seasons.
Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, Richards was the Wild’s second head coach in franchise history and guided Minnesota to two consecutive winning seasons. His coaching career in the NHL started as an assistant with the San Jose Sharks during the 2008-09 season, helping the Sharks capture the President’s Trophy with a NHL-best record of 53-18-11.
Richards served as head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. In two seasons with the Penguins, he compiled a record of 98-49-13 which included a trip to the Calder Cup Final in 2008. He also coached the PlanetUSA team at the 2007 AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto.
The Crystal, Minnesota native led Team USA to a bronze medal as head coach at the 2015 IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic and also served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Richards was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens with their third selection, 33rd overall, at the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut in 1990 and skated in eight career NHL games, posting four assists and four penalty minutes.