Report: John Tortorella Hired as Flyers Head Coach on 4-Year, $16M Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 16, 2022

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 8: Head coach John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets talks to media before their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 8, 2020 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

John Tortorella is returning to the NHL.

The Philadelphia Flyers are hiring the former Columbus Blue Jackets bench boss as their next head coach, according to ESPN's Kevin Weekes. The deal is for four years and $16 million ($4 million annually), Weekes added.

The Flyers fired Alain Vigneault in December following an 8-10-2 start to the season. In parts of three seasons with the team, he was 74-54-19 but failed to reach the postseason after his first year in charge in the 2019-20 campaign.

Philadelphia brought in Mike Yeo as interim head coach, and things only went further downhill from there, as it went 17-36-7 to close the season.

It was the first time since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons that the Flyers missed the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns. They have only won one playoff series since the 2012-13 season.

There are good pieces in place for the Flyers. Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee are solid attackers, while Ryan Ellis, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim are capable blue-liners. For once, the team appears to have a young goalie worth building around in Carter Hart.

What the Flyers don't have, though, is much high-end talent. While they might address that in the postseason, chances are Tortorella will be tasked with getting this group to overachieve after a 2021-22 season that saw them dramatically underachieve.

General manager Chuck Fletcher had to get the right person for the job, with another poor appointment potentially leading to his own seat growing warm. He chose Tortorella.

Tortorella last coached for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2020-21 season but was fired after the team finished at the foot of the Central Division, ending a four-year postseason run.

The 63-year-old also coached for the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers (twice) and Vancouver Canucks, going 673-541-37 with 12 playoff berths, including a Stanley Cup championship with Tampa in the 2003-04 season.

Tortorella was one of the biggest names on the coaching market, and his fiery demeanor should play well in a sports town like Philly.