The Columbus Blue Jackets may find themselves in some coaching trouble as head coach John Tortorella is entering the final year of his contract and if the team doesn’t ante up soon, he could walk at the end of the season next year. However, the problem is that coaches are making a lot more money than they used to and a team like Columbus has never paid a coach more than $1.5MM a year, which went to Ken Hitchcock. According to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski, the team may be forced to offer up at least $3.5MM to keep the veteran coach in Columbus.
Wyshynski writes that in the last few years, teams have been spending when it comes to coaches with Toronto’s Mike Babcock starting the process after the Maple Leafs gave him a $6.25MM per year deal. From that point on, Joel Quenneville cashed in with the Blackhawks at $6MM and Montreal gave Claude Julien $5MM to take over the Canadiens. It could be this new trend that has also spilled over into many teams hiring first-time coaches like this offseason when the Arizona Coyotes (Rick Tocchet, Florida Panthers (Bob Boughner), Vancouver Canucks (Travis Green) and the Buffalo Sabres (Phil Housley) all grabbed young coaches that wouldn’t demand big paychecks.
Could Tortorella be the next coach to break the bank? Currently, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Tortorella makes $2MM per year, but the Blue Jackets only pay $750,000 of that as he is still receiving money from his one-year stint in Vancouver. However, the two-time Jack Adams Awards winner, which goes to the NHL’s best coach, deserves a major raise and if the Blue Jackets don’t offer that, they could lose him.