After a last-place finish in the Central Division this season, John Tortorella's time as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets has come to an end.
Alex Portzline of The Athletic first reported Saturday that Tortorella told the Blue Jackets he won't return to the team with his contract set to expire this summer. Blue Jackets general manager and alternate governor Jarmo Kekalainen confirmed the news Sunday.
Tortorella released a statement on the decision:
"After discussion and consideration of the future direction of the team, Jarmo and I have come to a mutual agreement to part ways. I'd like to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for the opportunity to coach this team and live in the great Columbus-area. It has been a privilege to work with the players, coaches and hockey operations staff, which is one of the best in the League. Also, I want to thank the CBJ fans and the community for the support they've given the team and for the work of the CBJ family in support of the community."
Columbus finished the 2020-21 season with an 18-26-12 record after Saturday's 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Its 48 points were tied with the Red Wings for fewest in the Central Division.
There was a point this season when it looked like the Blue Jackets were going to be a playoff contender. They were 13-12-7 through 32 games, but they proceeded to lose 14 of their final 19 games.
Tortorella was hired by the Blue Jackets in October 2015 after Todd Richards was fired following an 0-7-0 start to the season.
The Blue Jackets made four consecutive trips to the postseason between 2016-17 and 2019-20. They advanced to the second round in 2019, but lost in the opening round three times during that stretch.
Tortorella is the franchise's all-time leader in games coached (447), wins (227) and playoff games (31). The 62-year-old owns a 673-541-37 record in 20 seasons as an NHL head coach.