Flyers Coaching Carousel Continues to Spin

Flyers' John Tortorella
COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 04: Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella during training camping held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on January 4, 2021. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)

To the shock of no one, the head coaching search remains a doozy for the Philadelphia Flyers. After Chuck Fletcher relieved Mike Yeo of his interim duty, he must make the right choice.

Yeo was not the right fit for the Flyers, going 17-36-7 behind the bench in Philadelphia. That abysmal record saw the Boys on Broad miss the postseason for the second year in a row. Between him and Alain Vigneault, there are bench bosses who expired with the Flyers in 2021-2022.

It’s a tall order to find the right head coach to put the Flyers back into contention in the Metropolitan Division. A flurry of names has been linked to the job but one is more polarizing than most.

Enter Stage Left, John Tortorella

One of the most divisive names on the Philadelphia Flyers’ shortlist is former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach and current ESPN analyst John Tortorella. Turning around a new team is not new to Torts. He coached Columbus from 2015 to 2021, leading the Blue Jackets to four straight playoff appearances in that six-year span. Tortorella also coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to their 2004 Stanley Cup championship.

His postseason resume is very appealing to a team without the Stanley Cup since 1975. Overall, Torts has a 673-541-37 record as an NHL head coach. Additionally, he earned the Jack Adams Award twice.

Familiar with the uphill battle that is playing in the Metropolitan Division, Tortorella makes sense. He knows what it’s like to routinely face the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins; such experience is valuable to the Flyers. A stout defensive style breeds identity, which Torts brings to Philadelphia.

Right now, it certainly seems that the Flyers are bending towards Tortorella. He isn’t the only option as of late, however. There are a few more names circling the rumor mill.

Trotz, Vellucci, and Muller

Another man connected to the Philadelphia job is none other than former Capitals and New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz. Trotz has the most recent Stanley Cup out of all the names floating around: handing Washington Lord Stanley’s prized possession back in 2018. He sits third overall in the NHL’s all-time regular-season victories with 914 and has put up 100+ points in nine different seasons.

But the real appeal for the 59-year-old Trotz is the way that he builds a culture of winning within his teams. He’s a stickler for good behavior and emphasizing team building, things that anyone who’s watched the Flyers needs the team to find.

Granted, Trotz knocked out the Flyers from the 2019 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals but his resume of excellence speaks for himself. Whether he wants to return to Winnipeg is a different story but he could turn the locker room into one that Fletcher’s been wanting since his arrival.

A lesser rumored duo that might work in the system is Mike Vellucci and Kirk Muller.

Vellucci has worked as an assistant coach for the Penguins and learned from one of the best in the leagues in Mike Sullivan. He has zero NHL boss experience but took the Carolina Checkers to the Calder Cup in 2019 while earning AHL Coach of the Year honors.

A slightly less sexy name on the list is Muller. An assistant coach for the newly eliminated Calgary Flames, his strength is possession and the two-hundred-foot game. All season, the word from Yeo and players like Atkinson was that the team wasn’t hard to play against. Muller is another name that could fit the Flyers.

Muller has the experience advantage over Vellucci and already has his fingerprints on Elias Lindholm. There is evidence of Muller’s impression at the NHL level. These two names are available, but they don’t have a history of turning around a bad NHL team.

(Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)