Rick Tocchet and the Arizona Coyotes have decided to part ways as the 2020-21 season concludes. Per the team’s website:
Arizona Coyotes General Manager Bill Armstrong announced today that the Coyotes and Rick Tocchet have mutually agreed to part ways. Tocchet, whose contract expires on June 30, will not return as the Coyotes head coach next season. The Coyotes will begin their search for a new head coach immediately.
Rick Tocchet and Arizona Coyotes part ways
Former NHL power forward took the reins as head coach back in 2017. Tocchet amassed a 125-131-34 record with the Coyotes during his tenure. New GM Bill Armstrong will now look to instill a coach of his choosing.
“After meeting with Rick, we have agreed that a coaching change is in the best interest of the club,” he said. “This was a very difficult decision, but we believe that it is time for a new direction and new leadership.” Arizona had held the last playoff spot heading into the last month of the season before the Blues took them over.
“I have great respect and admiration for all the players I coached in Arizona, along with my coaching staff, the medical staff, the equipment managers, the PR staff and the team services staff,” the 57 year-old coach said in his parting statement. “They are the best in the NHL, and I appreciate all their help and hard work. I also want to thank the fans of the Valley for all their support. I have loved living, playing, and coaching in Arizona and this place will always be special to me.”
In six seasons as an NHL coach with the Lightning and Yotes he’s 178-200-60.
Where will Tocchet land next?
As the field of available coaches grows, Tocchet could be a great candidate for the expansion Seattle Kraken. He and Ron Francis were teammates in Pittsburgh so they know each other well. He could also go back to where it all started for him with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Looking at the current landscape, he could be a fit with the Sabres as well. If the Rangers coaching job opens up I don’t think he would be the leading candidate with John Tortorella now available.