Columbus Blue Jackets president comments on John Tortorella seem to confirm rumors he will be moving on

John Tortorella eliminated (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Over the course of the last few weeks, the narrative coming out of Columbus is that this is John Tortorella’s last season with the Blue Jackets. Hockey Insider Darren Dreger recently stated that Tortorella is not expected back. The longtime coach of the Jackets will have his contract expire at the conclusion of the season and be looking for a new locker room to command.

Now what seems like speculation that the two sides are looking to mutually part ways is becoming clearer. In a recent interview with Aaron Portzline, president Mike Priest had some interesting comments on Torts.

Blue Jackets president talks highly of Tortorella but admits future in question

“Torts is a great coach. He’s proven that with his longevity and his record,” Priest began. “Like the coaches before him, each has played a role in getting us to where we are today. He has come here and created some identity.”

It isn’t lost on him how things have gone this season. “No one’s perfect, right? Some things are better, some things may not be better,” he said seemingly to take some blame away from Torts. “But overall he has really set a tone to bring the team together. I don’t subscribe to any one individual doing things, so when I say that things have come together … he meets with management on a regular basis. It’s really a team effort.”

Ultimately, and what makes me think Priest is acknowledging that the two sides will part ways is how he concluded his remarks on his current bench boss. “His honesty and his forthrightness have certainly helped this organization take things on, square off with ’em, be honest, be straightforward, get through it and move forward,”he explained. “He will be known, in our young history, as one of the best coaches we’ve had. Whatever transpires this summer between him and Jarmo, they have been a great team to move this organization forward.”

Tortorella and Jackets mutual parting expected

John Tortorella
Mar 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella argues a call during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen realized this was a lost season. He sold off some pieces at the deadline including UFA defenseman David Savard and their captain, Nick Foligno. There’s also some rumors that this isn’t going to be your typical dismissal and that John Tortorella is ready to move on. Per Aaron Portzline it appears to be a mutual decision.

Coach John Tortorella is in the final year of his contract, as are his assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Brad Larsen. Tortorella has shown no signs that he’s done coaching, but he may be on his way out of Columbus, a mutual decision with management. If Tortorella leaves, Kekalainen will need to hire a new coach, and perhaps an entirely new coaching staff.

The Athletic

If that’s the case, Torts may be a prime candidate for the head coaching job in Buffalo. They desperately need to turn around the culture of losing and for my money there’s no better coach. He’s done it in Tampa Bay, New York, and Columbus.

Torts’ run in Ohio may be over, but his quest for another Stanley Cup isn’t. It’s just a matter of where he will go next.

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