Flyers Rumors: John Tortorella Offered Head Coaching Job; Barry Trotz Also Contender

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 15, 2022

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2019, file photo, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella objects to a call during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh. With top-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois signed to a new contract and a solid second-line puck-handler Max Domi in place, the Columbus Blue Jackets will try to reach the NHL playoffs for the fifth straight season under coach John Tortorella. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

John Tortorella, who owns 20 years of NHL head coaching experience, has reportedly been offered the opportunity to lead the Philadelphia Flyers staff.

ESPN's Kevin Weekes reported Tuesday the sides are in "late-stage negotiations" about a contract for Tortorella to take over as the team's head coach for the 2022-23 season. TSN's Pierre LeBrun added further talks are set for Thursday.

Philadelphia narrowed its search to Tortorella and Barry Trotz, another high-profile coaching veteran, over the weekend, per Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff.

The Flyers failed to reach the playoffs each of the past two seasons and haven't advanced beyond the Eastern Conference Semifinals since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

They fired head coach Alain Vigneault in December after three seasons, and interim replacement Mike Yeo was dismissed at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, when Philly posted a 25-46-11 record, the NHL's fourth-worst mark.

Hiring a head coach will be the start of a busy offseason for Philadelphia, which must also name a new captain after trading Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers.

In May, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher noted handing out the "C" isn't a high priority.

"That's about No. 20 on our list right now. We'll get into that," Fletcher told reporters. "My assumption is we'll get through this summer, get closer to training camp, sit down and make that assessment."

More important for the franchise, which won its most recent championship in 1975, is finding a way to reinvigorate the roster.

"It is being aggressive in all phases. Certainly, part of it is we need to get younger, we have to get more talented," said Fletcher, who was hired as GM in 2018. "We have to get faster. We have to aggressively look at trades, free agency, and can we add a couple players to supplement what we have here and make this team better."

Hiring the fiery Tortorella would be an effort to change the culture in Philly's locker room.

The 63-year-old has compiled a 673-541-37-132 career record (.548 winning percentage) across 1,383 games as a head coach with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks.

Tortorella is a two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's best coach, taking home the honor in 2003-04 with the Lightning—who won their first Cup title—and 2016-17 with Blue Jackets.

The Boston native mutually parted ways with Columbus following the 2020-21 season and spent the past year as a hockey analyst for ESPN.

Trotz owns a 914-670-60-168 record (.567) from stints with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. He guided the Caps to the 2018 Stanley Cup title.

The 59-year-old Canadian was let go by the Isles at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.