According to ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, the Philadelphia Flyers named John Tortorella head coach on Thursday after firing Alain Vigneault on December 6 and opting not to give interim Mike Yeo the full-time gig, even though he will remain on their coaching staff as an assistant. Tortorella signed a four-year contract that will pay him $4 million per season.
The 64-year-old worked as an analyst for ESPN in the network’s first season of their television agreement with the NHL after moving on from his job as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he led them to a last-place finish in the Central Division during the 2020-21 shortened campaign.
Tortorella led the Blue Jackets to four straight postseason appearances prior to the 56-game season, including a first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who tied the NHL-record with 62 regular-season wins that season, in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That marks the only series win in Blue Jackets’ franchise history.
In 447 regular-season games behind the Blue Jackets’ bench, Tortorella went 227-166-54 (.568 points percentage). He went 13-18 (.417 win percentage) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In 1383 career regular-season games with the Blue Jackets, Lightning, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks, Tortorella has gone 673-541-37 (ties)-132 (.548 points percentage). His teams are 56-64 (.467) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tortorella led the Lightning to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2004. He won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s coach of the year after that season and 2016-17 with the Blue Jackets.
The Flyers’ 61 points this past season was better than only the NHL-worst Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference. The orange and black averaged 2.56 goals-per-game (31st), 3.59 goals-against per game (27th), a 12.6% power-play efficiency (last), and a 75.7% penalty-killing rate (26th) in 2021-22.
The Flyers have allowed an average of 3.33 goals-per-game (26th) over the last four seasons. The Blue Jackets’ 2.75 goals-against per game over the Tortorella era was tied for 10th while their 81.2% penalty-killing rate ranked ninth.
Philadelphia has missed the postseason in consecutive seasons since earning the first seed of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and in six of the last 10 overall.
Former Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz was reportedly the Flyers’ first choice for the job before he informed the team that he was going in a different direction earlier this week.
The Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and Florida Panthers are the only other teams currently without a head coach for next season.
The Vegas Golden Knights replaced Pete DeBoer with Bruce Cassidy on Tuesday. Weekes also reported that Cassidy’s contract with the Golden Knights will be for five years at $4.5 million per season.
**Breaking News** 🚨 🗞
Per my initial on #ThePoint ; I can confirm @NHLFlyers are hiring HC John Tortorella in the neighborhood of 4yr X 4M deal, and @GoldenKnights HC Cassidy in the neighborhood of 5 yr X 4.5 M. Coaching Carousel 🎠 continues . @espn @NHL #HockeyTwitter pic.twitter.com/Uvvq5NufM3
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) June 16, 2022
By Harrison Brown