John Tortorella was hired as a studio analyst Wednesday for ESPN’s coverage of the NHL beginning this season.
The 63-year-old coached the Columbus Blue Jackets for six seasons until it was announced May 10 that he would not return. His 673 wins in 20 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Blue Jackets are tied with Peter Laviolette for the most by a United States-born coach in NHL history. Tortorella is 673-541-132 with 37 ties in 1,383 regular-season games and 56-64 in 120 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Tortorella, a two-time Jack Adams Award winner voted as NHL coach of the year (2004, Lightning; 2017 Blue Jackets) guided Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004 and Columbus to its first postseason series victory against the 62-win Lightning in 2019, when they became the first team to sweep the Presidents’ Trophy winners in a best-of-7 series.
After leaving the Lightning following the 2007-08 season, Tortorella was an in-studio panelist for TSN. He coached the Rangers for five seasons (2009-13) and the Canucks for one season (2013-14) before he was hired by the Blue Jackets on Oct. 21, 2015 to replace Todd Richards after Columbus started the 2015-16 season 0-7-0. Tortorella was 227-166-54 in the regular season and 13-18 in the playoffs with Columbus.
The Blue Jackets were 18-26-12 last season and tied the Detroit Red Wings for last in the eight-team Discover Central Division, the first time they missed the playoffs since 2015-16. Brad Larsen was named coach June 11 after he was an assistant under Tortorella and Richards for seven seasons.
The 2021-22 NHL season begins Oct. 12 with a doubleheader on ESPN and ESPN+. The Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Stanley Cup champion Lightning, and the Seattle Kraken play their first regular-season game at the Vegas Golden Knights.
ESPN, the NHL and The Walt Disney Co. agreed to a seven-year television, streaming and media rights deal March 10.