Philadelphia Flyers agree to 4-year deal with John Tortorella to be team's head coach, source says

Philadelphia Flyers hire John Tortorella as head coach

The Philadelphia Flyers have hired John Tortorella to be their head coach, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced Friday.

The Flyers and Tortorella agreed to a four-year contract, ESPN NHL analyst Kevin Weekes reported Thursday.

“John demands the best out of his players every single game,” Fletcher said in a statement. “He is a Stanley Cup Champion and has a long track record of both regular season and playoff success. During the interview process we discussed a number of factors that are crucial to bring this team immediate success and it became clear to me that his vision and style makes him the right person to restore a winning environment to our locker room.”

Tortorella most recently coached the Columbus Blue Jackets for six seasons before the team announced after the 2020-21 season that he would not return.

He called Philadelphia the “right fit” for his comeback to the bench.

“I believe in the direction this team is heading,” Tortorella said in a statement. “Having faced the Flyers for several years, I know first hand how tough of a city Philly is to play in and I look forward to being on the right side of the bench on opening night in front of such a loyal and passionate crowd of Flyers fans.”

Under Tortorella, the Blue Jackets finished with a record of 227-166-54 — making him the winningest coach in franchise history — and qualified for the playoffs in four of his six seasons. They failed to advance past the first round each time except for 2019, when Columbus swept the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning in an opening-round shocker.

Tortorella, 63, has also coached the Lightning, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2004, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He has twice been named the winner of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.

The Flyers fired coach Alain Vigneault on Dec. 6, 2021, amid an 8-11-4 start to the season that included an eight-game losing streak. Mike Yeo was named interim coach, going 17-36-7 behind the bench as Philadelphia failed to make the postseason for a second straight season.

After the season, Fletcher announced that Yeo would not return as the team’s head coach in 2022-23.

The Flyers were among the NHL’s most disappointing teams this season. Fletcher added several veteran players last offseason, including defenseman Ryan Ellis, who was limited to four games because of injury. The general manager has talked about an “aggressive retool” this offseason, one that now includes a new coach in Tortorella.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski contributed to this report.

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