Rumor: Sheldon Keefe has an 'agreement in place' with Leafs' conference rival
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Rumor: Sheldon Keefe has an 'agreement in place' with Leafs' conference rival

The former Leafs bench boss is reportedly moving on.

Trevor Connors

According to multiple online reports, the New Jersey Devils have a verbal agreement in place with Sheldon Keefe to become the team's next head coach. Keefe, of course, was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs following their first round playoff loss to the Boston Bruins. 

The Devils fired veteran coach Lindy Ruff earlier this Spring, while his interim replacement Travis Green has moved on to become head coach of the Ottawa Senators. Meanwhile, Keefe has been spending his offseason in Muskoka and collecting paychecks from the fat contract extension that he signed earlier this year. If Keefe were to accept a new position, it's believed that his contract with the Leafs would be torn up.

So... what's a guy to do?

Take advantage of a new opportunity or sit back and collect free money?

Again, there are reports that the Devils have an agreement with Keefe but that Keefe is deciding whether or not he wants to jump back into the fire.

Honestly... I wouldn't blame the guy for just sitting back. He just spent five seasons in the pressure cooker of Toronto. 

For our earlier report on Keefe published by Hockey Feed staff writer Michael Whitaker, read below.

For the first time since November of 2019, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made the major change of firing their head coach and naming his replacement. Back then, it was Mike Babcock being let go in favor of Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe. 

And now, it's Keefe who has been given his walking papers, and it will be 2019 Stanley Cup winning head coach Craig Berube as his official replacement. The move came after the Leafs once again failed to advance past the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, meaning that they have exactly one postseason series victory since 2004.

For captain John Tavares, it wasn't the easiest news to wake up to overseas, as he's currently in Prague representing Team Canada in the 2024 World Championship. 

"I don't know him at all, just connected with him via text early this morning. It's what I woke up to," Tavares said. "Obviously very difficult to see 'Keefer' go, but part of the game at times, and for us as players, it's on us to do a better job. With Craig coming in, he's going to help us with that.

Tavares also explained that the termination of Keefe is a "wound" that he and the rest of his teammates will have to take. 

"It's still really difficult, I think," Tavares said. "He'd been around five years with the team. Everything we've been through and certainly from a personal note how he's helped my game grow and how he's challenged me, I think back and forth you develop a lot of trust and respect.

"As a player, you wear that, you feel that. That's a wound that you take."

Tavares is set to enter the final year of the seven year deal that he inked with his hometown Leafs in 2018 after being lured away from the New York Islanders. 

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Source: Trevor Connors