The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Tuesday John Tortorella will not return next season as the team's head coach.
The decision comes after the Lightning finished last in the Southeast Division at 31-42-9, missing the postseason for the first time in five years. Tampa Bay recorded just 71 points, tied with Los Angeles for the lowest total in the NHL.
"This has been a very difficult decision because of everything that John Tortorella has meant to and done for this organization," general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement. "Torts came to Tampa and not only built the foundation under our club but he also changed the culture and raised the expectations, eventually leading us to the Stanley Cup in 2004. What he accomplished during his tenure in Tampa was nothing short of remarkable and our organization will always owe him our thanks, gratitude and deep respect."
Tortorella, who had one year remaining on his contract, coached eight seasons with the Lightning, leading the team to its first Stanley Cup championship in 2004.
Voted winner of the 2004 Jack Adams Award as the National Hockey League's top coach, he established franchise records that season with 46 wins and 106 points. A 16-year coaching veteran, he became the team's fourth head coach in 2001, replacing Steve Ludzik.
Former Los Angeles Kings coach turned ESPN broadcaster Barry Melrose has long been rumoured to be a candidate for the position.
Tortorella had a 239-222-36-38 record during his eight years with the Lightning.