NHL Rumors: John Tortorella Interviews for Flyers' Head Coaching Vacancy

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2022

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 25: Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella looks on during the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH on Match 25, 2021. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers are reportedly interested in a high-profile veteran head coach ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Kevin Weekes of ESPN reported Philadelphia interviewed John Tortorella for its head coaching vacancy. The position is open after the franchise elected not to bring back Mike Yeo, who was elevated to head coach after the Flyers fired Alain Vigneault in December.

"We're going to get together tomorrow … and the first thing we're going to do is put together an ideal candidate profile," general manager Chuck Fletcher told reporters after making the Yeo decision. "We're going to really go through a very thorough discussion on what we're trying to achieve, what we're looking at. At this stage all options are open. We're just starting the process. Once we build that candidate profile, what we're looking for, we'll start to reach out to candidates we want to interview."

Philadelphia went 17-36-7 under Yeo and 8-10-4 under Vigneault this past season, finishing in last place in the Metropolitan Division. It has finished in fifth place or worse in its division in six of the last eight campaigns.

That means whoever takes over the coaching position will be facing the daunting challenge of turning things around in a division that features the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Tortorella is accustomed to taking an underdog team and competing in the Metropolitan Division, though, from his time on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He coached Columbus from 2015-16 through 2020-21 and led it to the playoffs four straight seasons in that span. The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs just two other times in franchise history outside of Tortorella's tenure, and they won their only best-of-seven postseason series when they stunned the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning with a sweep in 2019.

Tortorella has also coached the New York Rangers, Lightning and Vancouver Canucks during his career and notably led Tampa Bay to the 2004 Stanley Cup title. His teams have 1,515 points in 1,383 games for a .548 point percentage throughout his career, and he has 12 postseason appearances.

Philadelphia is looking for its first Stanley Cup title since 1975 and could reestablish itself as a contender under Tortorella if he is the direction the front office chooses for the head-coaching position.