Photo Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Arizona Coyotes announced on Sunday that the organization and head coach Rick Tocchet have mutually agreed to part ways. Tocchet was with the organization for four seasons. His contract will expire on July 28.
“After meeting with Rick, we have agreed that a coaching change is in the best interest of the club,” said GM Bill Armstrong in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision, but we believe that it is time for a new direction and new leadership. Rick is a very good coach and an incredible person, and we sincerely appreciate all his hard work and dedication to the Coyotes the past four years. We are grateful for everything that he has done for our organization and wish him the best of luck in the future.”
“It’s been an honor to coach the Coyotes the past four seasons,” said Tocchet. “I have great respect and admiration for all the players I coached in Arizona, along with my coaching staff, the medical staff, the equipment managers, the PR staff and the team services staff. They are the best in the NHL, and I appreciate all their help and hard work. I also want to thank the fans of the Valley for all their support. I have loved living, playing, and coaching in Arizona and this place will always be special to me.”
The 57-year-old posted a record of 125-131-34 with the Coyotes and led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012 last season. The team will not make the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs and will finish either fifth or sixth in the West Division with 56 points.
Tocchet also coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for parts of two seasons from 2008-10. He is 178-200-60 as an NHL coach with the Lightning and Coyotes. He is 4-5 in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Mike Sullivan’s and Mike Johnston’s respective staffs with the Penguins from 2014-2017 before the Coyotes named him head coach.
Tocchet won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
The Coyotes finished the season with an average of 2.68 goals-per-game (21st in the NHL), 3.11 goals-against per game (22nd), a 20.8% power-play efficiency (14th), an 80.8% penalty-killing rate (12th), an average of 27.5 shots-per-game (29th), an average of 30.5 shots-against per game (tied with Edmonton Oilers for 17th), and a 49.1% faceoff-winning percentage (22nd).
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The Coyotes, who underwent a GM change last offseason after John Chayka quit on July 26, have not made it past the first round since 2012.
By Harrison Brown