The Calgary Flames fired head coach Bob Hartley on Tuesday, less than a year after he received the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year.
Associate coach Jacques Cloutier was also let go.
General manager Brad Treliving said "today starts the process" of finding a replacement for Hartley, who won the Jack Adams after guiding Calgary to a surprise playoff appearance in 2015. But the Flames regressed this season and missed the playoffs by a wide margin.
Treliving said Hartley had "taken this team as far as I feel he can take it."
The GM said "there's blood on a lot of hands" in the organization, including his own. He identified goaltending as an area of concern after a season in which Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio both were waived at different times and sent to the minors. Veteran Jonas Hiller, who Treliving has said will not return, posted a .879 save percentage — the worst in the NHL in the last decade with a 25-game minimum.
"Our goaltending was not good this year. I need to fix that," Treliving said. "The way we play in front of the goaltender needs to be fixed as well."
The goalie issues helped submarine what appeared to be a promising team that made some high-profile off-season additions. The Flames acquired defenceman Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins at the draft, Michael Frolik signed as a free agent and Sam Bennett had a solid rookie season. Star forward Johnny Gaudreau fashioned a strong sophomore campaign, increasing his goals total from 24 to 30 and his points from 64 to 78.
Hartley reportedly had one year left on his contract after receiving a two-year extension in December 2014, in the midst of his coach-of-the-year season.
In four seasons with Calgary, he compiled a regular-season record of 134-135-25. The Flames made it to the second round last year, defeating Vancouver in the opening round before losing to Anaheim in their only playoff appearance under Hartley.
Hartley won the Stanley Cup in 2001 with Colorado, where he coached for three-plus seasons. He also had a stint with Atlanta (now Winnipeg) that lasted parts of five seasons.
Three NHL teams now have head coaching vacancies. Ottawa fired Dave Cameron last month, and Bruce Boudreau was let go last week by Anaheim.