The Calgary Flames have announced that they have fired head coach Bob Hartley. Associate coach Jacques Cloutier has also been let go.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 3, 2016
In what has to qualify as a surprising move, Hartley is being let go less than a year after winning the Jack Adams as the NHL’s Coach of the Year. Hartley was viewed as a genius by many last year, getting his team into the playoffs for the first time in six seasons and winning a playoff series for the first time in eleven years.
But things were different this season. After the team improved on paper during the offseason, they took a step back on the ice.
Calgary finished with the fifth-worst record in the entire National Hockey League. Hartley also had a run-in with two of the team’s brightest young stars, benching Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan back in February. Coincidentally, those two players both need new contracts this offseason.
Hartley walks away from the Flames organization with a respectable record (134-135-25), given he joined the team in the middle of a rebuild. He ranks third all-time in franchise coaching wins, trailing only Bob Johnson (193) and Terry Crisp (144).
The timing of this firing is interesting, letting go Hartley more than three weeks after the season has ended. Do they have interest in recently fired Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau? We may soon find out.