After a long and extensive search, the Philadelphia Flyers have named John Tortorella the 23rd head coach in team history.
On Saturday, news broke that the Flyers were down to their final two candidates, John Tortorella & Barry Trotz. After Bruce Cassidy was named the Vegas Golden Knights head coach Tuesday evening, the Flyers moved quickly in naming Tortorella their head coach.
Tortorella, 63, was an analyst for ESPN last season after mutually parting ways with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2021.
“I am very excited to be joining such a historic and well-respected franchise like the Philadelphia Flyers. From my very first conversation with Chuck, I knew this was the right fit for me and I believe in the direction this team is heading. 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.” – Flyers New Head Coach John Tortorella
Previously, Tortorella has served as the head coach for four NHL teams – Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Winning the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In 18-seasons as an NHL head coach, Tortorella has coached in 1383-games with a record of 673-541-169. Good enough for the second most wins by an American born head coach in NHL history.
Tortorella, who has no previous ties to the Flyers, will be tasked with bringing a new & outside prospective to the organization. A prospective that former head coach Alain Vigneault tried and failed at.
Throughout the search, there was one main attribute that GM Chuck Fletcher was looking for. That attribute was accountability. In the NHL, there is no coach that holds his players more accountable than Tortorella.
“John demands the best out of his players every single game. He is a Stanley Cup Champion and has a lengthy 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.” – Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher
While Tortorella is viewed as a hard coach to play for, all his former players have nothing but great things to say about him & his leadership. More on that below.
Tortorella being offered the job did come from a final decision made by Chuck Fletcher. However, according to multiple sources, that decision was aided by multiple parts.
The search for the Flyers head coach was led by Fletcher. In addition to Fletcher, an outside consulting agency, Assistant GM Brent Flahr, Special Assistant Danny Briere, & some of Fletcher’s most senior advisors all played a part.
In the end, this decision was Chuck Fletcher’s. But, even though John Tortorerlla wasn’t his number one choice, Fletcher trusted the work of everyone involved and moved ahead with Tortorella.
As for the roster, Tortorella will now be tasked with putting his touch on a roster that went through a major re-tool during the 2021-2022 season. Something that resulted in the Flyers acquiring a familiar face to Tortorella.
Cam Atkinson, who played for John Tortorella in Columbus for 6-seasons, will be reunited with his former bench boss in Philadelphia.
Atkinson, who is entering his 2nd season in Philadelphia, spoke very highly of his former coach during his exit interview.
“I think it all starts with practice. You practice how you play. Especially when I turned pro, I learned that from John Tortorella. He was great in that aspect.” – Cam Atkinson
Now, Atkinson & John Tortorella will be reunited in Philadelphia.
As for the rest of the roster, Tortorella will have to do his best with an average talented roster. Which, managed the 5th worst record in the NHL last season.
With minimal cap space & limited assets due to last offseason’s moves, it will be hard for GM Chuck Fletcher to add key pieces for John Tortorella in year one.
However, that will not stop Fletcher from trying hard at an “aggressive re-tool” to give Tortorella those pieces.
Next up for the Flyers is the NHL draft on July 7th. The Flyers will pick 5th overall in the draft.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gene J. Puskar – Associated Press