May 21st, 2024

A look at potential candidates to replace Sheldon Keefe as Maple Leafs head coach

By The Canadian Press on May 9, 2024.

St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube hoists the Stanley Cup after the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in Boston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer

TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Sheldon Keefe on Thursday following another disappointing playoff exit.

The Canadian Press takes a look at some of the potential candidates to take over the Original Six franchise that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

CRAIG BERUBE

The 58-year-old from Calahoo, Alta., hoisted the Cup as coach of the St. Louis Blues in 2019, but was fired by the organization in December after missing the playoffs last spring. The no-nonsense Berube, who owns a 281-190-72 coaching record over parts of eight seasons with the Blues and Philadelphia Flyers, played 40 games for the Leafs in 1991-92 and was a Jack Adams Award nominee as coach of the year when St. Louis won the Cup.

TODD MCLELLAN

The 56-year-old from Melville, Sask., was fired by the Los Angeles Kings in February after parts of five seasons in charge. McLellan is 598-412-134 in the regular season with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and Kings. A Jack Adams finalist in both 2008-09 and 2016-17, he got San Jose to the conference final in both 2010 and 2011. McLellan won the Stanley Cup as a Mike Babcock assistant with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and coached Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey – a roster that featured Leafs star Auston Matthews.

JAY WOODCROFT

The 47-year-old from Toronto was fired by the Oilers in the fall after Edmonton got off to a disastrous start. Woodcroft worked his way up the coaching ranks before finally getting a shot in the Alberta capital when the team fired Dave Tippett in February 2022. Woodcroft, who was 79-41-13 with Edmonton, helped Connor McDavid and Co. make the conference final that spring and the second round last year before the rocky opening to 2023-24.

GERARD GALLANT

The 60-year-old from Summerside, P.E.I., won the Jack Adams in 2018 after guiding the Vegas Golden Knights to the Cup final in their expansion season. He made the conference final with the New York Rangers in 2021-22 before getting let go following last spring’s first-round playoff exit. Gallant, also a finalist for coach of the year in 2015-16 and 2021-22, is 369-262-74 over 11 seasons with the Golden Knights, Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers.

BRUCE BOUDREAU

The 69-year-old from Toronto last coached with the Vancouver Canucks in 2022-23. Boudreau, who won the Jack Adams with the Washington Capitals in 2007-08, has put up a record of 617-342-128 during his four NHL stops that also included stints with the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild. Boudreau, who also played for the Leafs and was a Jack Adams finalist in 2012-13, has never seen one of his teams advance to the third round of the playoffs.

DAVE HAKSTOL

The 55-year-old from Drayton Valley, Alta., was fired late last month by the Seattle Kraken following three seasons in charge. Hakstol, who also coached the Flyers for parts of four campaigns, is 241-213-69 in the NHL. He has familiarity with Toronto after serving as an assistant under both Babcock and Keefe from 2019 through 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024.

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