June 25, 2024

Report: Sheldon Keefe likely on Rangers’ radar if Leafs fire coach after playoffs

Sheldon Keefe may very well lose his job in Toronto if the Maple Leafs can’t dig out of their 3-0 series hole against the Florida Panthers. If that happens, the New York Rangers could reportedly be interested in making Keefe their next head coach after they swiftly moved on from Gerard Gallant last weekend.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that Keefe would “presumably become a person of interest in the Rangers’ coaching search” if he became available.

While that’s speculative, Brooks did rule out a big (and controversial) name such as Joel Quenneville being in the running for the Rangers’ head coaching gig. Naturally, the net could be thrown out wider, as Brooks laid out a scenario where Dubas and Keefe moved to the Pittsburgh Penguins, opening the door for the Rangers to then land Mike Sullivan.

Keefe, 42, is the youngest head coach in the NHL. Through four (sometimes abbreviated) seasons under Keefe, the Maple Leafs recorded a 166-71-30 record in regular season games, good for a strong .678 points percentage. Facing a possible sweep in the second round of this year’s postseason, Toronto’s playoff record under Keefe is 12-16 heading into Game 4.

Once you go beyond the numbers (which will most likely include just a single successful playoff series), your viewpoint of Keefe’s work will be subjective. Although the team carries a reputation for being offensively explosive and defensively vulnerable, they’ve become far more defensive-minded over the years under Keefe. Evolving Hockey’s team RAPM chart captures how well-rounded Toronto was in 2022-23.

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