New Jersey Devils hire Sheldon Keefe as head coach

The New Jersey Devils named Sheldon Keefe as the 22nd head coach in franchise history on Thursday.

Keefe previously spent the past five seasons as the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he made the playoffs every season and advanced past the first round just once.

Keefe was fired on May 9 after the Maple Leafs' loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the first round.

“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," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said in a statement. "He is an excellent communicator, believes in collaboration and will take what he has learned previously to make this team a Stanley Cup contender."

New Jersey is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2023-24 season in which the team missed the postseason despite being tabbed as one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and the Stanley Cup.

The Devils hold the No. 10 pick in next month's NHL draft after finishing with a 38-39-5 record.

“To have the chance to lead this young, dynamic team and to see the potential that can still be unlocked is all very attractive for me," Keefe said in a statement.

The Devils fired Lindy Ruff in March. He had led the team to a franchise-record in points the previous season, along with a first-round series win over the New York Rangers.

Sheldon Keefe, fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs this month, is expected to be named coach of the New Jersey Devils.
Sheldon Keefe, fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs this month, is expected to be named coach of the New Jersey Devils.

Travis Green, who had been named Devils interim coach, was hired by the Ottawa Senators.

NHL coaching carousel

With the Keefe hiring, there are three NHL teams (Winnipeg JetsSan Jose Sharks and Seattle Kraken) remaining with coach openings.

The Los Angeles Kings removed the interim tag from Jim Hiller on Wednesday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (Craig Berube), Buffalo Sabres (Lindy Ruff), Senators (Green) and St. Louis Blues (Drew Bannister had his interim tag removed) made earlier coaching announcements.

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour agreed to a multi-year extension.

This article originally appeared on Devils name Sheldon Keefe head coach