New York Rangers Eyeing Sheldon Keefe to Fill Their Head Coaching Role

Published May 23, 2023 at 4:00 PM

Rangers looking to swoop in for Sheldon Keefe

Amidst a turmoltuous shake-up in Toronto that saw Kyle Dubas exit as Leafs GM, rumors now turn to HC and Longtime Keefe Ally Sheldon Keefe and the New York Rangers may be the team to coup the now uncertain Toronto Head Coach.

According to Rangers beat writer Vince Mercogliano, Keefe is on the radar for a potential coaching job in the Big Apple if it is indeed the end of his tenure as Maple Leafs Head Coach. The Rangers fired Head Coach Gerard Gallant after 2 seasons, having made the playoffs in both seasons, but lost in the first round in 2023 to the New Jersey Devils.

According to Mercoglino, citing league sources, it appears that with Dubas out of the picture in Toronto, that it appears more likely the Leafs may move on from Dubas as well. The connection between Dubas and Keefe go back a decade to the duo's growth with the OHL's Soo Greyhounds, Dubas having hired Keefe, a then young coach without OHL experience, a partnership that jumped from the OHL and later the AHL & finally the NHL, the two partnering to lead the Leafs to 3 of their 4 best seasons in terms of Point Percentage.

Despite their successes, the Leafs were chastised by critics for a continued inability spanning 19 years to make it past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After their first entry into Round 2, the Leafs lost in 5 Games to the surprise Florida Panthers.

The Athletic had speculated Keefe's name in an article of Potential Coaching Hires for the Rangers, citing his experience with a young, big market city in Toronto.

Keefe's experience with nurturing young talents, both in the AHL and NHL, Keefe will surely be tasked to grow top youngsters Alexis Lafreniere & Kaapo Kakko, both Top 2 picks who have struggled to live up to their Draft position.

Also speculated for the Head Coaching role is Leafs Assistant Coach Spencer Carbery and former Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock. Also rumored is former Blackhawks Head Coach John Quenneville, who needs to be reinstated by the NHL to coach after being found complicit by the league in Chicago's covering of the sexual assault allegations by former player Kyle Beach by a then-trainer.

There isn't any concrete frontrunner for the Rangers Coaching job, and the Leafs haven't made any move on Keefe's future, but if he's let go, it's not a doubt that every team needing a Head Coach will be looking at Sheldon Keefe to take on their team's future.