Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has told the team he will not return for 2020-21, according to a report by The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline on Saturday evening.
Tortorella’s run in Columbus ends after six seasons, leading the team to a 227-166-54 overall record. Tortorella was the first coach in franchise history to lead the Blue Jackets to a playoff series victory, sweeping the heavily favored Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2018-19. Tortorella coached the Blue Jackets to a play-in series win over Toronto in 2019-20.
The Blue Jackets couldn’t improve on their strong season and ultimately lost in a tie-breaker to Detroit to finish last in the Central Division. The Blue Jackets finished tied with Buffalo for 29th in goals-per-game with 2.39 and injuries to many key players, including defenseman Zach Werenski, and the trades of Nick Foligno and David Savard at the deadline sealed the deal.
Tortorella won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2004, but despite being the first American coach to break the 500-win barrier, has only made it to the conference finals once more in 2012 while with the New York Rangers.
The two-time Jack Adams winner was set to have his contract expire this summer, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said Tortorella is not ready to retire just yet at 62 years old.