Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe signs multiyear extension
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Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe signs multiyear extension

Aug 09, 2023

Check out some of the best goals from Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews after he signed a four-year extension. (2:17)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are sticking with head coach Sheldon Keefe.

The Maple Leafs announced a multiyear contract extension for their bench boss Wednesday, putting to rest conversation about whether Keefe would remain with Toronto under new general manager Brad Treliving.

Keefe, whose previous deal was set to expire at the end of this coming season, has a 166-71-30 record with Toronto -- his first NHL coaching gig -- and ranks sixth overall in franchise wins.

The Maple Leafs set single-season franchise records for wins (54) and points (115) under Keefe in 2021-22 and have recorded back-to-back 50-win campaigns.

"Coaching this team has been a great privilege, and I'm truly excited at the opportunity to continue building towards our ultimate goal," Keefe said in a press release. "I'm thankful for the support from MLSE and its ownership along with [team president] Brendan Shanahan and Brad Treliving, who I've really enjoyed getting to know and work with this off-season. We have so many great players and people within our organization that I'm grateful to work with, and together our commitment to team success remains steadfast."

Keeping Keefe is a mark of consistency Toronto likely needed after its early offseason restructuring of the front office that saw former GM Kyle Dubas' contract not renewed. Dubas subsequently joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in May as GM and president of hockey operations.

Dubas promoted Keefe to Toronto's head-coaching job in November 2019, when former coach Mike Babcock was fired. Keefe was coaching Toronto's American Hockey League affiliate at the time -- a role Dubas also brought Keefe to originally in 2015 after the two had previously worked together as GM and coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 2012-15.

The longstanding relationship between Keefe and Dubas -- which included winning a Calder Cup championship in 2018 with the Marlies -- raised questions about whether Keefe's future would be in Toronto following Dubas' departure. Treliving came on board shortly after Dubas wasn't extended, and Treliving said he would evaluate Keefe like every other member of the Leafs' staff before a decision was made on a new deal.

While Keefe has led the Maple Leafs to strong regular-season results, Toronto consistently has fallen short in the playoffs. Since 2019, Toronto has reached the postseason four times but has won only a single first-round series, topping Tampa Bay in six games last spring.

Treliving is backing Keefe with a new commitment.

"Since I've joined the Maple Leafs, I've been very impressed with Sheldon," Treliving said in a press release. "He has shown great leadership skills with his staff and our players, and has a clear vision for this team and where it needs to get to. Sheldon has established himself as one of the top coaches in the league and I look forward to working alongside him as we head into the upcoming season."

This Keefe decision is the second major move Treliving has made since taking the Maple Leafs' reigns last spring. He also inked top center Auston Matthews to a four-year, $53 million contract extension earlier this month.