The most successful stretch in Columbus Blue Jackets hockey history is ready to come to a close, as head coach John Tortorella has told the team that he will not return to the bench there next season.
Columbus’ season ended on Saturday with a 5-4 OT win over Detroit. The team struggled this year, finishing in last place in the Central Division with a 18-26-12 mark.
The Blue Jackets won’t make the postseason for just the second time in six seasons with Tortorella as the team’s head coach.
The contract for Tortorella expires this summer, so leaving is an easier decision for the 62-year-old than trying to work out some sort of buyout.
There are already rumors that Tortorella will apply for another head coaching job this summer. Right now, Vancouver, Montreal, Detroit and Buffalo will all have openings on their bench that Tortorella can simply slide into.
The experienced coach leaves Columbus as the winningest coach in franchise history, posting a 227-166-54 regular-season record and a 13-18 record in the playoffs. Tortorella led the Blue Jackets to their best season ever in 2016-17, when the team won 50 games and accrued 108 points.