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Sources: Flyers agree to four-year, $16 million contract with John Tortorella to be team’s head coach

The 63-year-old, who spent the 2021-22 season working as an ESPN analyst, has coached four teams over a 20 year career as a head coach in the NHL.

The Flyers have made John Tortorella the 23rd head coach in team history.
The Flyers have made John Tortorella the 23rd head coach in team history.Read moreJeff Chiu / AP

Next season, the Flyers will welcome a new head coach behind the bench with a demeanor as fiery as their fans’ passion for the team.

The Flyers officially came to an agreement on Thursday with John Tortorella to be the franchise’s 23rd head coach (including interims), a source confirmed to The Inquirer. The terms of the deal are four years at an annual average value of $4 million. Tortorella is expected to be introduced as coach and speak with the media via Zoom on Friday.

The news of Tortorella’s hiring came less than 48 hours after ESPN reported that the team had extended Tortorella an offer on Tuesday night.

» READ MORE: What readers are saying about John Tortorella as the likely Flyers coach

Tortorella, 63, brings 20 years of NHL head coaching experience to the Flyers, with previous stops at the helm of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He achieved hockey’s holy grail by winning the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004. Additionally, he won the Jack Adams Award twice — once in 2003-04 with the Lightning and again in 2016-17 with the Blue Jackets — as the NHL’s coach of the year.

The Boston native has accumulated 673 wins, 541 losses, 37 ties, and 132 overtime losses for a .548 points percentage in 1,383 career regular-season games. Tortorella’s 673 wins rank 14th in NHL history and are the second-highest total by an American head coach behind former Flyers boss Peter Laviolette (717 wins).

Tortorella’s teams have reached the postseason on 12 occasions and he has a playoff record of 56-64 (.467). Aside from winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, Tortorella made it to the Eastern Conference finals with the New York Rangers in 2012, falling in six games to the New Jersey Devils. Tortorella has six first-round exits — two with the Lightning, two with the Rangers, and two with the Blue Jackets.

He is well-known for his confrontational style, both with his own players and with members of the media. However, his former players have praised Tortorella for his coaching, including former Blue Jackets and current Flyers winger Cam Atkinson.

At the end of the Flyers’ abysmal 2021-22 season in which they finished with a 25-46-11 record, general manager Chuck Fletcher cited coaching as an area to address in an effort to quickly turn around their shortcomings.

“This season, injuries were a big part [of the team’s failures], but we’ve got to get back,” Fletcher said. “I go back to process and hopefully with coaching and looking at a few different ways we can try to have the puck more often and not spend so much time in D-zone, make the game a little bit easier. We have a lot of opportunities here. There’s challenges, but I look at them as opportunities. We have a lot of opportunities to improve significantly in areas that will make us a better team.”

The Flyers started the 2021-22 season with Alain Vigneault as head coach, but in the midst of a 10-game losing streak that lasted from mid-November to early December, Fletcher fired him on Dec. 6. Assistant coach Mike Yeo served as interim coach for the remainder of the season. On May 3, the Flyers announced that Yeo would not return next season.

» READ MORE: John Tortorella? Barry Trotz? Does it matter whom the Flyers hire as their next coach?

Before landing Tortorella, the Flyers showed interest in former New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz.