Skip to content

Devils hire Keefe as new head coach

Icon Sportswire / Getty

The New Jersey Devils hired Sheldon Keefe as their new head coach, the team announced Thursday.

He'll join his new team on a four-year deal, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

"This was an invigorating process for me, having met with many qualified candidates and hearing how attractive this position was to them," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said.

"Sheldon jumped to the top of my list when he became available, and I was thrilled when he agreed to be a part of what we are building here. He is an excellent communicator, believes in collaboration, and will take what he has learned previously to make this team a Stanley Cup contender."

Keefe spent the last five campaigns as bench boss of the Maple Leafs, amassing a stellar 212-97-40 regular-season record and .665 points percentage. That success didn't carry over into the postseason, though, as Toronto won just one playoff round with Keefe at the helm.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Keefe to a two-year extension in 2023, but it didn't kick in before he was relieved of his duties May 9. The Leafs are now completely off the hook for the extension with Keefe joining New Jersey.

The 43-year-old took over behind the Leafs' bench in November 2019 after the franchise fired Mike Babcock. Keefe inherited a skilled squad featuring a plethora of young, skilled players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.

He's now entering a similar situation in New Jersey, which boasts a roster featuring Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, and Luke Hughes, who are all 25 years old or younger.

New Jersey moved on from Lindy Ruff in March, replacing him with Travis Green on an interim basis.

Green filled the Ottawa Senators' coaching vacancy earlier in May, while Ruff was scooped up by the Buffalo Sabres.

The Devils reportedly received permission to speak to Keefe less than two weeks ago.

New Jersey missed the playoffs in 2023-24 after ending a four-year postseason drought last spring.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox