DETROIT, MICH -- The Red Wings have announced that the final coaching vacancy has been filled. John Torchetti, former interim coach of the Minnesota Wild has been hired.
We posted about Torchetti being a potential candidate in late May, and Joe Bouley over at Hockey Wilderness gave us a nice rundown on what kind of coach Torchetti is:
While the Wild hadn't been particularly good in the puck possession metrics all season long, those numbers took a hit when Torch took over. It was way more dump and chase. However, he got a fire lit underneath some of the more talented 20 somethings, namely Erik Haula, and got that line with Haula, Nino Niederreiter, and a resurgent Jason Pominville to carry the team to the post-season.
There was a difference with Torch with the Wild even on the first night. The first post-game presser showed that Torchetti pays attention to everything - mostly the little things on the ice. He seemed like a great guy with a South Boston accent who took very little crap. As GM Chuck Fletcher put it, "This team was in triage mode," and Torchetti got the Wild to play just good enough to beat the Avalanche in the standings for another post-season.
He really seemed to resonate with the younger guys in the lineup and put guys into a better position to succeed than did Yeo. We don't really know what his system is, or what he'd install differently given a chance at a full year, without having to bail out water from the sinking ship. However, the power play was better, even if some veteran guys still held some deeply rooted bad habits (*cough* Suter *cough*). There was more traffic and more balance between the first and second units than there was under Yeo.
As for the PK, the Wild PK was something awful all season long and it's tough to tell if Torch could have fixed the car that was already totaled.
Overall, he's a likable guy that seems to get through youth playing better, and his special teams work was so-so at best. He should be a solid assistant in Detroit, or anywhere else he might end up.
Another very interesting point - Torchetti was the head coach for CSKA Moscow in 2013, right before he was hired as head coach for the Iowa Wild. The same team that Alexander Radulov plays for. Coincidence? Maybe. And no, before you ask, he was not the one that Radulov punched.
Torchetti appears to be the type of coach that can help younger players, and put them in better positions to excel. For a team like Detroit who needs to start leaning harder on young talent, this could be a really good hire. I've heard nothing bad about Torchetti's coaching.
Michael Russo, a Minnesota Wild beat writer, wrote about Torchetti. Great read for all Red Wings fans.
More from the Detroit Red Wings press release:
Torchetti served as the interim head coach of the Minnesota Wild for the second half of the 2015-16 season, helping a team that had lost 13 of 14 games prior to his hire on Feb. 13 finish the season with a 15-11-1 record. The Wild qualified for the playoffs but fell to the regular-season conference champion Dallas Stars in six games during the first round of the playoffs. Torchetti has served as a head coach in the NHL on three occasions, each time on an interim basis, collecting a 30-30-4-2 record with the Wild, Los Angeles Kings (5-7-0 in 2005-06) and Florida Panthers (10-12-4-1 in 2003-04). Prior to his stint with Minnesota, the Boston native was in his second season with the Iowa Wild and his fourth season as head coach of Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate, having also led the Houston Aeros from 2011-13. He compiled a 113-129-36 record and led Houston to the playoffs in each of his two seasons.
The 51-year-old has also served as an assistant coach in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning (1999-01), Panthers (2002-04), Kings (2005-06), Chicago Blackhawks (2008-10) and Atlanta Thrashers (2010-11). He was a member of the 2010 Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks and also helped Chicago reach the Western Conference Final in 2009. Torchetti spent the 2013-14 campaign as head coach of CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, guiding the team to a 32-20-2 finish.
Torchetti has coached in the professional ranks since 1993-94, breaking in as an assistant coach of the ECHL’s Greensboro Monarchs from 1993-95. He has also served as head coach of the CHL’s San Antonio Iguanas (1994-96), the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets (1996-98), the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage (2002-03) and the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats (2006-07). Torchetti also spent one season in Detroit, acting as general manager for the IHL’s Detroit Vipers in 1998-99. As a head coach, Torchetti has a career record of 384-325-22-64 and was the CHL’s Coach of the Year in 1995 and the IHL’s Coach of the Year in 1998.