Hannah Foslien
May 03, 2016

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) The Calgary Flames fired Bob Hartley on Tuesday, a season after he was voted the NHL's coach of the year.

Calgary took a big step backward this year after reaching the playoffs last season. The Flames finished 35-40-7, with only Vancouver and Edmonton posting fewer wins in the rugged Western Conference.

''Bob has taken this team as far as I feel he can take it,'' Flames general manager Brad Treliving said at a news conference.

Last season, he led the Flames to a 45-30-7 record and third place in the Pacific Division, but there was no sign of that team this season behind Johnny Gaudreau and Marc Giordano. In February, Calgary dealt forward Jiri Hudler to Florida for draft picks and sent winger David Jones to Minnesota for goalie Niklas Backstrom and a sixth-round pick.

In four years with Calgary, Hartley had a regular-season record of 134-135-25.

Treliving met with Hartley early Tuesday and fired the 55-year-old from Hawksbury, Ontario.

''This is isn't just a necessary move because we didn't make the playoffs, so we're going to throw a body on the tarmac,'' Treliving said. ''For us to move forward, I felt this decision had to be made for what Bob, in my opinion, can get from this group moving forward.''

Associate coach Jacques Cloutier also won't return next season. But Treliving said assistant Martin Gelinas and goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet will remain with the club.

After surprising many by making the playoffs in 2014-15 and beating Vancouver in the first round, Calgary finished 26th overall this season. The Flames' 77 points were 20 fewer than a year ago.

The problems came despite high-profile offseason additions. The Flames acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins at the draft, Michael Frolik signed as a free agent and Sam Bennett had a breakout rookie season.

But Calgary stumbled early, losing its season opener to Vancouver en route to a 2-8-1 start. The Flames weren't able to recover. Unlike last year, they rarely rallied for wins in the third period.

The team began the season with three goalies on one-way contracts. Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio both were waived at different times and sent to the minors. Veteran Jonas Hiller also struggled, his .879 save percentage the worst in the NHL in the last decade with a 25-game minimum.

''Our goaltending was not good this year,'' Treliving said. ''That falls on the general manager. I need to fix that. The way we played in front of the goaltender needs to be fixed as well.

''Our special teams, for a good portion of the year, were 30th in the league. There's some style of play issues in terms of how to move forward.''

Hiller has signed with a Swiss club and won't return. Ramo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in February, and Ortio are currently the top goalies in the system.

Hartley won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, where he coached for five seasons. He also coached the Atlanta Thrashers.

Hartley signed a reported two-year contract extension in December 2014, so he would've had one year remaining on his deal.

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