The Flyers announced Tuesday that they have hired John Torchetti as an assistant coach for the remainder of the season.
Torchetti will join Mike Yeo, who will remain interim coach for the rest of 2021-22, along with assistant coaches Darryl Williams and Nick Schultz. The Flyers have had a vacant assistant position since firing coach Alain Vigneault and assistant Michel Therrien on Dec. 6 and promoting then-assistant Yeo to interim coach. Schultz, the team’s player development coach, was brought in at that time to fill the other assistant vacancy.
Torchetti, 56, last served as coach of the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2019-20. His last job in the NHL was with the Detroit Red Wings in 2017-18, and he also has spent time with the Tampa Bay, Florida, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Minnesota organizations. Yeo is excited to finally have a full compliment of assistants, particularly one with as much experience and pedigree as Torchetti.
“He’s a great man, he’s a great hockey person, someone who I obviously already have familiarity working with in the past,” said Yeo. “He checks a lot of boxes for me personally and it’s nice to have someone with head coaching experience on the bench. It’s also nice to have somebody with winning experience. He’s another guy that’s won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with Chicago. So that experience could be huge for us.”
The Boston-born Torchetti worked in Minnesota under Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant GM and vice president Brent Flahr, serving as coach of the AHL team in Iowa before replacing Yeo as interim coach with the Wild in 2015-16. That season, Torchetti led the Wild to a 15-11-1 record and a playoff berth.
In all, Torchetti has more than 20 years of coaching experience in professional hockey, serving as an assistant, associate, and head coach during stops in the ECHL, CHL, IHL, NHL, AHL, and Russia’s KHL. He has amassed a record of 30-30-4-2 with the Panthers, Kings and Wild over three spells as an interim coach in the NHL and owns a 150-154-12-41 mark in 357 AHL games.
Yeo believes the addition fo Torchetti will also allow for more individual instruction and special teams work.
“It’s going to give us more opportunity, I don’t want to say specialize, but if the job’s on the PK, spend more time on the PK, if the job’s on the power play, spend more time on the power play, pre-scout and so on,” said Yeo. “And also one thing that’s been lacking a little because there’s only so many hours in the day, is the individual attention that I think is really important. Assistant coaches showing individual clips of video to players, having those kind of communications and I think that’s massively important for us as a staff.
Torchetti won the 2010 Stanley Cup as an assistant with the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat the Flyers in six games.
Sandin to make NHL debut
After Yeo opted to play defenseman Nick Seeler at left wing Monday night in favor of fresh legs, he announced Tuesday he would return to a more conventional lineup. The big news was that Swedish forward Linus Sandin would be making his NHL debut.
Sandin, who was called up from the Phantoms and added to taxi squad Monday, will slot in on the fourth line with Zack MacEwen and Connor Bunnaman. The 25-year-old was signed from Sweden’s HV71 in 2020 on an entry-level contract and had 5 goals and 7 points this season for the Phantoms.
A natural right winger, Sandin managed 10 points in 26 games last season for the Phantoms after spending the previous three seasons in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) split between HV71 and Rögle BK. In his final full season in Sweden’s top league in 2019-20, Sandin tallied 19 goals and 36 points in 51 games.
Sandin’s brother, Rasmus, currently plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs as a defenseman.