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New Jersey Devils receive permission to interview ex-Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe

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Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
Sheldon Keefe may not be out of a job for long.
The former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach, who has dismissed from his position with the team on Thursday, has reportedly been courted by the New Jersey Devils about their own head coaching vacancy.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun shared the news on Friday afternoon that the Devils have sought and received permission from the Maple Leafs to interview the 43-year-old coach.
The Maple Leafs have not yet named their own successor to Keefe, nor have they made any decisions related to the fate of his former assistant coaches, including power play coach Guy Boucher.
The Devils went through two head coaches in the 2023–24 season. They started out with veteran bench boss Lindy Ruff, who had served in that capacity since 2020; the Devils relieved Ruff of his duties in March and replaced him with Travis Green on an interim basis.
Although Green was believed to be in the running for the Devils job this summer, the Ottawa Senators were more aggressive in their pursuit of the 53-year-old former player and named him their head coach earlier this week.
The Devils appear to have cast a relatively wide net in their own coaching search, and they didn’t take long to express interest in Keefe after he was let go by the Leafs just on Thursday.
Keefe coached the Leafs to a seven-game loss against the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since taking over from Mike Babcock behind the bench early in the 2019–20 season, Keefe led the Leafs to five consecutive playoff appearances but only made it out of the first round once.
Through parts of five regular seasons with the Leafs, Keefe amassed a 212-97-40 record behind the bench. His Leafs went 16-21 in 37 career playoff games over five postseason appearances between 2020 and 2024.
If he does get hired in New Jersey, Keefe will be tasked with helping the Devils return to the playoffs after they surprisingly failed to qualify in 2023–24. The Devils’ defence and goaltending struggled down the stretch, particularly with Dougie Hamilton out with a season-ending pectoral injury.

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