The Philadelphia Flyers have already been linked to Barry Trotz in their head-coaching search and now another big-name free agent has been connected to the team. John Tortorella has interviewed for the position, according to Kevin Weekes of ESPN. Weekes notes that it is “one of the coaches” that has been interviewed.
Tortorella, 63, last coached in the NHL during the 2020-21 season, spending the interim as an analyst with ESPN. The fiery competitor has one of the highest profiles of any coach in the league due to a combination of his success and very public spats with players and media. Only 13 men have won more regular-season games as a head coach in the NHL, and Tortorella also has a fair bit of postseason success, including a Stanley Cup championship in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A career that includes time with the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets, Tortorella should be very familiar with Philadelphia and the Flyers organization. Like Trotz, his time in the Metropolitan Division could provide an inside track. Although with so many qualified candidates on the market, it is hard to know exactly which path the team will choose.
Recently, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet gave his take on the situation during an episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, explaining that the Flyers do not appear to be in any rush to name a head coach. Still, with now Trotz and Tortorella connected to the team, they are certainly not shying away from the big — and likely expensive — options.
The Flyers are still on the hook to pay Alain Vigneault $5M per season through 2023-24 but also have a clear impetus from ownership to turn things around quickly. Chairman Dave Scott told reporters that he was giving general manager Chuck Fletcher a “blank check” to fix things, and with the long-term extension of Rasmus Ristolainen, followed by this coaching search, it appears as though there is no time for a tear-down in Philadelphia.