New Jersey Devils Should Hire Sheldon Keefe If Available
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a state of flux after letting Kyle Dubas go last week. If the same fate finds head coach Sheldon Keefe, the New Jersey Devils should jump at the chance to sign him.
The headlines in Toronto are off the charts as they threw their hat in the ring for a new general manager. Brendan Shanahan made the surprising move last Friday, telling Kyle Dubas that his services were no longer needed. After years of amazing regular season records but no postseason success, it looks like major changes are coming to the most popular team in the sport. This is where the New Jersey Devils can take advantage.
Sure, the Devils could target one of the core four, especially William Nylander or Mitch Marner, However, they would be smart to target some of the brains of that operation. The Maple Leafs organization builds itself similar to the Devils, looking to build around its star power. The Devils could try to swipe some of the front office talent, but going for a big fish would make more sense.
Sheldon Keefe is still technically employed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the writing is on the wall. Dubas was only the first domino to fall. Keefe won’t be far behind. He’s underperformed with these superstar teams.
Why would the Devils want him? Well, it’s the same thought process as Andrew Brunette. The Devils will get a coach who could be a quality head coach. He sits behind Lindy Ruff, who’s been in the league long enough to teach the younger generation. Ruff is signing an extension this offseason, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s 63 years old. There are only so many years left.
Also, Brunette has been considered a candidate at just about every head coaching opening in the league. Somebody is bound to poach him to take a head coaching position. Keefe would be a perfect replacement in the same role.
We talked about this last year. Keefe would be a really good addition to the Devils coaching staff. He could help a terrible Devils power play. Even in the playoffs, the Maple Leafs scored at a 25% clip with the man advantage. He could find the best way to use stars like Jack Hughes and Dougie Hamilton.
Keefe would probably prefer a head coaching gig right off the bat, but he might have to wait a year. It’s already late in the process, and teams have done their due diligence on dozens on candidates. If they wait for Keefe, they may lose out on other candidates.
This would be a win-win for everyone. As long as the Devils continue to be a contender, its coaching staff will get future head coaching opportunities.