Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella made history on Friday, become the eighth man to coach in 1,500 NHL games. The milestone was reached via a matchup with the Seattle Kraken that ended in a 2-1 overtime loss for the Flyers. But despite dropping his most recent game, Tortorella has been fantastically successful for much of the rest of this season, currently boasting a 19-11-5 record that has Philadelphia ranked third in the Metropolitan Division. This comes despite Philadelphia being considered one of the league’s rebuilders entering the season, with many expecting the team to start off slow under a new general manager and a second-year head coach.
But Tortorella has pulled the Flyers above their expectations, following an interesting pattern of missing the playoffs in his first full season with a new team but driving towards the post-season in his second year. Tortorella has done the same for every club that he’s coached for, save for the Vancouver Canucks, who he only spent one season with.
Tortorella joins an exclusive list by hitting the 1,500-game mark. Only seven other head coaches have hit the mark – and, interestingly, only three coaches in the Top 10 of games played are officially retired. Four coaches on the list are currently behind NHL benches – with Tortorella joined by Florida’s Paul Maurice, New Jersey’s Lindy Ruff, and New York’s Peter Laviolette. The list also features Barry Trotz, who is taking a break from coaching to serve as the Nashville Predators general manager, and Joel Quenneville and Darryl Sutter, who are both coaching free agents with differing levels of optimism around if they may coach again in the future.
Other notes from around the league:
- The Nashville Predators have sent top goalie prospect Yaroslav Askarov to the minor leagues. Askarov played in two games while with the Predators roster, saving 33 of a possible 35 shots. Askarov has also played in 15 AHL games this season, setting an 8-6-1 record and .908 save percentage.
- Pierre-Olivier Joseph is set to miss the Penguins’ Sunday night matchup against the New York Islanders, continuing to sit out with illness. Joseph’s last game was on December 16th. He’s played in eight NHL games this year, recording one assist and a -3.
- Washington Capitals 2022 second-round draft pick Alexander Suzdalev has had his WHL rights traded from the Regina Pats to the Saskatoon Blades. Regina received three players and three draft picks in return, including a first round pick in the 2026 Draft. Suzdalev scored 86 points in 66 WHL games last season, adding 10 points in seven playoff games. But he’s since returned to Sweden, playing in 13 games and scoring three points with Mora IK of Sweden’s second league. This blockbuster WHL move could be a sign that Suzdalev is poised for a return to Canadian juniors.