Fantasy Impact: The Columbus Blue Jackets have fired head coach Todd Richards and replaced him with John Tortorella.
The move takes Tortorella off of Vancouver's books and also compensates the Canucks with a second-round draft pick. Do rules get any dumber? Encourage a team to fire their coach because the team can get a draft pick out of the deal if he gets re-hired. But I digress…
Columbus gets: a reputed hardline coach who – awesomely enough – has little patience for media. Oh how I wish he were in the Toronto market so I could see him getting interviewed every day…
Tortorella coached five years with Tampa Bay, four-and-a-half years with the Rangers and one season with Vancouver. He's been to the Final 4 twice and won the Cup once. He was coach when Martin St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy and he was at the helm when Vincent Lecavalier had 108 points. So we know he doesn't hold back his players or stifle production in any way with his style. I think you can expect things to open up. He's gonna love Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell and of course his old buddy Brandon Dubinsky. But all the dormant offensive players should start picking things up now. Those fantasy owners sitting on the likes of Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson and Brandon Saad should finally see dividends.
I'm not saying that Torts is some great coach who will suddenly make the Blue Jackets a contending team. In fact, I think he's lost his effectiveness, truth be told. But most coaching changes result in a quick turnaround. And generally speaking a new coach has a good first year before things fall apart, if they ever do. Ironically, the biggest exception to that rule is Tortorella himself, who was brutal at the helm of the Canucks. But I like this fit better than Vancouver's fit because the goaltending situation is stable, there is more depth in Columbus, and the top players are better suited to his style. Which screams "Tortorella darling" to you more – Daniel and Henrik Sedin or Dubinsky/Foligno/Atkinson/Jenner/Hartnell/Saad/Johansen?
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