This would seem to be one of Leafland’s worst kept secrets, but Darren Dreger reported yesterday that Soo Greyhounds head coach Sheldon Keefe will likely join his former GM Kyle Dubas in Toronto next season:
“@MikeInBuffalo: Dreger also believes that Soo Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe will be part of Leafs organization next season.” Very likely.
— Alan Strachan (@winsford99) April 27, 2015
In what capacity is the question (Marlies or Leafs, his role). A jump straight into the NHL would be questioned by some; Steve Spott, for instance, may have been rushed through the progression a little bit too quickly and he even spent one season with the Marlies after getting hired out of Kitchener, where he was head coach for five seasons after nine years as an assistant in Kitchener and Plymouth. Keefe, only 34 years old, has just two full (and successful) seasons of OHL coaching under his belt.
At the same time, based on their recent words and actions, it wouldn’t be surprising for Shanahan and Dubas to cast aside concerns about experience and hire him into an assistant spot with the Leafs, knowing they view him as a smart hockey person and that he’s going to be simpatico with Dubas and an analytical approach to decision making.
He could also, and this would follow the more logical progression, take on a role with the Marlies, which would involve working more on the development side and directly under Dubas, GM of the Marlies.
No playoff hockey tonight, so here’s some quality reading below.
- Damien Cox: Sheldon Keefe builds second career out of second chance (Toronto Star)
Well, given that Kyle Dubas, assistant GM of the Maple Leafs, was the one who gave him new life in the game and remains an unabashed booster, it’s reasonable to anticipate that Keefe’s name will be coming up in connection with Toronto’s struggling NHL franchise in the coming months when names are raised for coaching positions in the organization.
Jeremy P. Rutherford: Ken Hitchcock – ‘I need time’ before deciding on future (St. Louis Dispatch)
GM Doug Armstrong: “I think when you look at the day he took over, where the ship was headed to where we are now, there’s been a quantum leap. There was hope not to be embarrassed to have expectations to win a Cup. Those goal posts are very wide. I give him the utmost credit doing that, getting us on that task, completing that task of respectability to then (becoming) expectations. What we’re going to evaluate now is ‘What do we have to do now to move this forward?’ I’m not going to put a timeline on it. It’s not going to be ‘You come back in 18 days and I’ll have an answer.’
- Kevin McGran: Calgary Flames succeed where Maple Leafs failed (Toronto Star)
The big Leafs flaw? They were a horrible “possession” team as measured by the fancy-stats community. The whole shots taken to shots allowed differential was going to come back to haunt them, went the logic. The Flames? In the regular season, the Flames (44.2 per cent) had a worst Corsi For percentage (which measures that shot differencital) than the Leafs (46.4).
- Jordan Heath-Rawlings: Why Babcock is a bad fit for the Maple Leafs (Sportsnet)
Babcock’s professional coaching career has consisted of getting maximum effort from teams with established leaders who showcase great talent and superior work ethic. It’s not as though Babcock showed up in Detroit in 2005 and taught Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios how to win.
- Dave Hodge: Thumbs up to Trotz and down to the Leafs (TSN.ca)
It’s been said here before, but thumbs down to the Leafs for not wanting to replace Carlyle with Trotz to start the 2014-15 season. And thumbs up to Barry Trotz for the job he has done in his first season with the Capitals.
- David Staples: Dion Phaneuf could help the Oilers, but his cap hit makes little sense for Edmonton (Edmonton Journal)
What Stauffer said then is even more telling right now for the Oilers. It’s hard to imagine that the Oilers would be willing to take on Phaneuf’s cap hit, what with Connor McDavid coming to town, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall all on big contracts already, with Mark Fayne and Benoit Pouliot also having big long-term tickets, and with possible big money deals coming for players like Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov, Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl in the duration of Phaneuf’s mega-deal.
- Michael Traikos: Leafs prospect Viktor Loov gaining reputation in the AHL for his hard-hitting style
In Game 2 of the Calder Cup playoffs on Sunday, which the Marlies won 5-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, Nastasiuk was crossing the blue line late in the third period when Loov lowered his shoulder and nearly took his opponent’s head off with a devastating hit. Nastasiuk, who needed to be helped off the ice, did not return to the game.