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Maple Leafs fire Sheldon Keefe after 5 seasons

Toronto Star / Getty

The Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Sheldon Keefe after five seasons with the club, the team announced Thursday.

Decisions on the rest of the coaching staff are still to come.

"Today's decision was difficult," general manager Brad Treliving said in a statement. "Sheldon is an excellent coach and a great man; however, we determined a new voice is needed to help the team push through to reach our ultimate goal. We thank Sheldon for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last nine years, and wish him and his family all the very best."

Keefe signed a two-year extension last August that hadn't kicked in yet. The 43-year-old took to X to express his gratitude hours after news of his firing broke.

Keefe's dismissal comes after yet another early playoff exit for the Maple Leafs. Toronto lost to the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 7 last week for its seventh opening-round elimination in eight years, and fourth in five years under Keefe.

The Maple Leafs accrued the fourth-most points of any team across the NHL since Keefe took over in November 2019, going 212-97-40. However, the club only won one playoff round under his guidance, a first-round victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2023.

The cumulative stats of Keefe's tenure show Toronto became a far less potent team in the postseason.

Regular season Stat Playoffs
212-97-40 Record 16-21
3.55 Goals for per-game 2.62
2.93 Goals against per-game 2.76
24.9% Power play 15.4%
80.1% Penalty kill 78.8%

Keefe's gig with Toronto was his first in the NHL.

The Leafs will begin their search for a new coach immediately. Five other coaching vacancies across the NHL also need to be filled: the New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, Seattle Kraken, Winnipeg Jets, and San Jose Sharks.

There have now been 19 head coaching changes across the NHL since the end of the 2022-23 season, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

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