The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Jim Johnson to the position of assistant coach today, executive vice president and general manager Brian Lawton announced. Johnson joins the Lightning from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League where he had served as head coach.
“Jim has done whatever the Lightning organization has asked of him and excelled in those roles, even as his responsibilities have increased, whether it be in player development, as an associate in Norfolk or in the head position for the Admirals,” Lawton said. “And now we are excited about adding him to an already strong coaching staff as an assistant coach for the Lightning.”
A native of New Hope, Minn., Johnson was named head coach of the Admirals on Jan., 16, 2010, after beginning the season as the team’s associate coach. Once taking the reins of the Admirals, Johnson gave the team a newfound fire and direction, leading them to a 13-2-1-1 record during his 17 games behind the bench. The Admirals improved from 17-23-2-0 and seventh in the AHL’s East Division to 30-25-3-1 and third place in the East Division, firmly entrenched in the playoff race, with Johnson serving as head coach.
As associate coach, Johnson was responsible for working with the organization’s defensive corps and for the team’s penalty killing. This season the Admirals’ penalty killing unit is ranked first in the league on the road (88.7 percent) and third overall (87.1 percent).
In 2008-09, Johnson served as the Lightning’s player development coach, working with the organization’s most highly-touted prospects and draft picks, and he was instrumental in the planning of the team’s conditioning, rookie and young guns camps.
Johnson had a lengthy NHL career as a defenseman, playing 829 games with 29 goals and 166 assists with stops in Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Dallas, Washington and Phoenix. He also represented the United States in international competition on seven occasions including the 1991 Canada Cup.
Following his retirement, Johnson spent four years with the Phoenix Coyotes as a consultant to the general manager, broadcast analyst and an assistant coach. He has also served as a U.S. National Junior Team Assistant Coach at the IIHF World Junior Championships on three occasions. Johnson has been involved with USA Hockey development programs at the state, regional and national levels as a coach, evaluator and presenter. He was named 2006 USA Hockey Volunteer Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the United States Olympic Committee Coach of the Year.