The 2023-24 NHL season has become disappointing in a hurry for the Philadelphia Flyers. An ugly nine-game stretch that features only one victory has the Flyers’ chances of making the NHL postseason looking incredibly slim. However, it appears that Flyers management is content to ride into the future with head coach John Tortorella.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Flyers brass “absolutely” wants Tortorella back as head coach next season. LeBrun added that Philadelphia believes that the head coach will have a positive impact on the development of the club’s younger players.

Lebrun also said that the 65-year-old Tortorella is “energized” and wants to continue coaching the Flyers in the future.

Tortorella has two years remaining on his contract. He has previously coached for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning. He has made the postseason 12 times as a head coach, winning one Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Calgary Flames in the 2003-04 season.

The Flyers had been exceeding expectations for most of the season, and as recently as early March had a solid chance of making the playoffs. The team then went on to lose eight straight games and is now on the absolute fringes of rescuing the season.

If Philadelphia fails to make the postseason, then it will be their second straight season under Tortorella where they failed to achieve a playoff berth. It would also be the fourth season in a row that the Flyers don’t make the playoffs.

Dissecting the Flyers collapse down the stretch

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella instructs goaltender Samuel Ersson (33) during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose.
© Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Where did it all go wrong for the Flyers?

As recently as March 24th, Philadelphia was in the driver’s seat and a playoff berth appeared more likely than not. In fact, according to Stathletes data scientist Meghan Chayka, the Flyers had an 88% chance of making the playoffs.

That’s when everything started going wrong.

The next eight games were all devastating losses. Philadelphia’s defense was an absolute sieve, as the team was outscored 42-18 down the stretch. This ugly run included two losses against the Montreal Canadiens and defeats from the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, and Columbus Blue Jackets.

April 9th was the team’s low point. The Canadiens torched the Flyers 9-3 in Montreal and seemingly put them down and out for good.

“This is rock bottom tonight for us,” Tortorella said following the game. “[I] hate to see us, at this time of year, be playing this way after all the good minutes we put in throughout the year.”

“The wheels came off,” Tortorella added.

After the grisly defeat, Chayka’s model gave Philadelphia a 4% chance of making the playoffs.

Yesterday, the Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 4-1 and kept their playoff hopes alive. According to Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic, Philadelphia now has a mere 8% chance of keeping their season alive.

The Flyers end the regular season with two home games, one against the New Jersey Devils and their final games against the Washington Capitals. A win against the Devils on Saturday could help rescue the Flyers’ season.