John Tortorella long has been the perfect coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After years of coaching in big markets, Tortorella landed in Columbus and has since managed to get quite a bit out of a team that perhaps otherwise would’ve underachieved these last few seasons.
However, his contract is up after the campaign, and with the way this season has gone, his future with the Jackets is in doubt.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, for one, thinks a split is looming.
“My take: This decision isn’t just what (Jarmo) Kekalainen feels is right moving forward; it’s just as much what Tortorella feels like doing. Does the veteran coach want a new challenge? Or is he happy to stay put?
“I feel like this one is headed for a split after a fun journey together.”
Tortorella bumped heads often with star center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who was traded earlier this season. He since hasn’t had the most luck getting the best out of Patrik Laine, who was acquired in the Dubois deal. The Blue Jackets are going to miss the playoffs for just the second time since he took over in 2015-16, and very well might finish at the bottom of their division.
The only head coaching vacancies as of now are Seattle and Buffalo, though the Sabres might end up retaining Don Granato. Seattle could be a fascinating challenge for Tortorella.