Columbus Dispatch reporter and Blue Jackets insider Aaron Portzline dropped a bombshell on the hockey world today with his latest report on Jackets’ head coach John Tortorella. Here’s what we already knew: Tortorella is entering the final year of a contract that he signed with the Vancouver Canucks in 2013. The agreement pays him $2 million annually.
What we didn’t know? The Blue Jackets are only on the hook for $750,000 of that, while the Canucks have been paying the balance. That means that the Blue Jackets have been paying less for coaching than any other team in the league. And their head coach just happened to be named the best coach in the NHL. Something’s gotta give in CBJ.
Either Tortorella receives a MASSIVE pay raise from the Blue Jackets or he’ll get his money elsewhere. How much of a raise? Don’t be surprised if Tortorella’s next deal pays him somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-$6 million annually. After all that’s what top coaches like Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville and Claude Julien have earned on their latest deals. Tortorella, despite having his detractors, is a two-time Jack Adams Award winner and a Stanley Cup champion. And, as Portzline points out, the Blue Jackets are coming off the best season in their franchise’s history. Again, something’s gotta give.
If Tortorella and the Blue Jackets President John Davidson can’t hammer out a deal before it expires next offseason, you can bet that the mercurial bench boss will be a hot commodity on the coaching market.
Stick tap to Puck Daddy and Greg Wyshynski for breaking this story: