The Toronto Maple Leafs have made another signing, this time locking down their head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year extension. Keefe was entering the final year of his prior deal and will now be under contract through the 2023-2024 season.
Leafs Reach Extension with Sheldon Keefe
The Leafs have been disappointing in the playoffs ever since Keefe has taken over as the team’s head coach. However, they have had a lot of regular season success under his guidance. Keefe took over after the firing of Mike Babcock in the 2019-2020 season, and the Leafs won 27 of their last 47 regular season games. That was good enough for the third playoff spot in the tough Atlantic Division.
This past year, the Leafs cruised to 35 wins in the shortened 56 game season. This resulted in them sitting at the top of the Canadian division with Keefe as their full-time head coach. However, they did lose to the Montreal Canadiens in game seven of the first round of the playoffs.
Extending Sheldon Keefe makes it clear that the Leafs’ top brass likes having him behind the bench of the team. Prior to his time as the head coach of the Maple Leafs, Keefe coached for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the Toronto Marlies, the latter where he won the league championship in 2018.
Time is Running Out for the Leafs
Although the resigning of Keefe would indicate team success, that is far from the truth for this Leafs team. Following first-round playoff exit after exit, the Leafs will likely have one more season to win a playoff series before seismic changes erupt, likely one of if not multiple of their “big four” forwards getting traded.
Keefe is tasked with leading this talented yet still young team deep into the playoffs. With the departure of longtime Leafs Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen leaving the team this offseason, Keefe will turn to many new faces to help get the job done.
Forwards Nick Ritchie, Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase, and David Kampf will likely join the team’s opening day lineup to provide some more offensive depth, while free agent acquisition and goaltender Petr Mrazek will look to solidify the net playing with Jack Campbell.
Both the Maple Leafs and Sheldon Keefe will need to find a way to get out of the teams’ lack of playoff success to avoid massive changes in the near future.
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