Assessing NHL's Head Coaching Vacancies

Three teams are looking for a new head coach ... for now.

Assessing NHL's Head Coaching Vacancies

Vacancy 1: Columbus Blue Jackets: While accumulating the most wins as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets have agreed to mutually part ways as Tortorella's contract expired after the 2020-21 season.

With a .429 winning percentage, the 2020-21 season signified Tortorella's lowest winning percentage since the 2001-02 season as the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach, where he held a .421 winning percentage.
With a record of 227-166-54 in five-plus seasons with the Blue Jackets, Tortorella totaled 100 wins more than Todd Richards, who led the team from 2011-12 to the 2015-16 season. In the 2016-17 season, Tortorella was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year.

John Tortorella coached the Blue Jackets for 6 seasons | Blue Jackets Instagram

Tortorella has coached in the NHL for 20 seasons while first making his appearance as an interim head coach in the 1999-00 season with the New York Rangers. He then officially became the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach in the middle of the 2000-01 season.
Over his 20 seasons as head coach, Tortorella made the playoffs 12 times while capturing the Stanley Cup in the 2003-04 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While GM Jarmo Kekalainen eyes a different direction for the team, Tortorella, the 12th most winningest head coach in NHL history with 673 wins, desires to continue coaching the NHL.

Vacancy 2: Arizona Coyotes: After missing out on the playoffs for the 7th time in eight seasons, the Arizona Coyotes have severed ties with Rick Tocchet after four seasons.

While going 125-131-4 in four seasons, Tocchet's Coyotes have only made one playoff appearance, where they lost in the 1st round in the 2019-20 season.

The Arizona Coyotes' last playoff victory was in 2012 versus the Nashville Predators when they went to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Los Angeles Kings. 

This indicates the Arizona Coyotes' last playoff win as a franchise was when they were named the Phoenix Coyotes, which adjusted for the 2014-15 season.

With that said, Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has elected to find a new voice for the franchisee while seeking a young, energetic, and offensive-minded head coach.

Vacancy 3: Seattle Kraken: The 32nd and newest NHL franchise will officially begin to play in the 2021-22 season, though the team has yet to announce a head coach. While the team has yet to reveal a head coach, it appears Gerard Gallant and Bruce Boudreau are the front-runners.

Gerard Gallant has a career record of 270-215-4 as head coach of the Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, and Vegas Golden Knights. Fittingly, Gallant was the first head coach in franchise history for the Golden Knights, where he led the franchise to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017-18 in the franchise's inaugural season and captured the Jack Adams Award.

Bruce Boudreau, who is also on the Kraken's radar, began his NHL head coaching career with the Washington Capitals in 2007-08. Boudreau then became the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks from 2011-12 until 2015-16. And most recently, Boudreau was the head coach of the Minnesota Wild from 2016-17 to 2019-20. With a 567-302-115 record as an NHL head coach, Boudreau may also land with the Seattle Kraken.

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A Question for the Peanut Gallery

Who do you believe will become the next head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes, and Seattle Kraken?

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