Not wanting him to be seen as a “lame duck” coach, the Columbus Blue Jackets have extended the reigning Jack Adams Award winner John Tortorella for an additional season. That means he’ll now be under contract through the 2018-19 season, and will likely remain one of the league’s top paid coaches. Tortorella took home the top coaching award for the second time in his career, following his 2004 win after claiming the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Torts” as he’s affectionately referred to as has now coached 1,093 regular season games at the NHL level and will enter this season with a 530-432-131 record. He ranks 22nd all-time in wins and will likely climb into the top-20 this season, passing names like Marc Crawford and Dave Tippett who aren’t currently in charge of a club. The Blue Jackets, poised to have another big year have responded well under his fiery style, exploding to a 50-24-8 record last year in the best season in franchise history. They had to give up the #55 pick in this year’s draft as compensation for hiring him while he was still under contract (but not working) with the Vancouver Canucks, but it would be hard to find someone to complain about that price.
While details of the contract extension haven’t been released, Tortorella was making $2MM per season combined from Vancouver and Columbus and it would be hard to see him take a cut in 2018-19. Instead, he may even be inching closer to the salaries of Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville and others which eclipse $5MM.