Sheldon Keefe on joining Leafs

Sheldon Keefe joined TSN Drive with Dave Naylor to discuss his new appointment as head coach of the Toronto Marlies.

On his role:
I hope to have a big picture vision in terms of developing players specifically for the Toronto Maple Leafs and for Mike Babcock and his system that he’ll be implementing there. It’s something I’m really excited about. There’s a lot of really good people working in the organization here that are all working with the same goal in mind of developing players for the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’m very excited to be a part of that. I look at myself as an extension of both Mike Babcock and his staff with the Maple Leafs as well as the player development department of the organization, being kind of a bridge between those two areas is something I’m excited about.

On working with Babcock:
Our communication to this point has been that I’ll work closely with him and his staff, be a part of the meetings and preparation throughout the summer and into training camp. It’s going to be vital for me to learn what the expectations of Mike Babcock are. He’s a new voice coming into the organization here and what it takes to be a Toronto Maple Leaf is different now than what it has been in the past. Players, whether they were in the organization with the Marlies in the past last season or a new player coming in, it’s important they know that message, and that myself and the group with the Marlies are able to deliver that on a daily basis.

On the organization’s philosophy for player development:
I think as far as I’m concerned or as I’m a part of it, it’s obviously an area I need to learn more about and spend more time with Mike in particular and his group to be straight on what his expectations are and what he wants to see. It’s clear and it’s apparent that it’s a group that is wanting to be very patient and understand the need to be patience with its young prospects and the importance of really building something here. My discussion with Mikes and the others, they are not wavering in that approach. My role here with the Marlies here is an important role and one I’ll take very seriously, and mirror that same approach of patience and development working with the players.

On his association with David Frost and Mike Danton:
A lot of those, or all of those associations, are very much in my past. There have been a number of people that have reported on that. That’s very much in my past and getting into coaching, it’s been nine seasons now I’ve been a head coach and very much made an identity for myself over that period of time. I certainly wouldn’t be in this position and be able to move through the coaching ranks as I have without separating myself from those associations. I’m a guy now that has a wife and a young family, I’ve been nothing but look ahead and developing myself as a coach and a person. I’m looking forward to another exciting opportunity here.

Full interview available here.

Bob McKenzie on Kessel Trade Talks

I think there will be some (interest) and the Leafs are going to try to trade him. There’s no doubt about that. This is not, “oh, wow, I heard a Phil Kessel trade rumor the other day.” Well, get ready for them because in a perfect world the Toronto Maple Leafs would like to trade Phil Kessel. Simple as that. It’s how many teams are interested, what’s the price, and all of those details will start to filter out over time, whether they can get a deal remains to be seen.

There will be some interest. I think the Florida Panthers are a team that in the past –- and, again, I’m not suggesting they’ve called and said, “we’re interested right now” — I’m saying possible good fits where the sense is there may have been interest in the past, either at the deadline or previously. If you listen to Dale Tallon toward the end of the season talk about his Florida Panthers, they need a veteran goal-scoring winger who has speed and a really good shot and somebody to complement our young centers. Again, money is always an issue and Phil Kessel makes a lot of it, and Florida is not a moneybags team, but we’ll see.

The problem the Leafs are going to run into with most of these teams, whether it’s the Florida Panthers or the Nashville Predators or the St. Louis Blues, if they’re looking to re-jig and add speed to their lineup – and that’s been Ken Hitchcock’s mantra since he’s been brought back, is to try and get more offense into the lineup and compete against the Chicago Blackhawks on a more even footing – the problem the Leafs will run into is everybody is going to want to try to get him for a deep, deep discount. At the end of the day, that’s what the Leafs are always going to have to weigh: What’s the price, what’s our return, and how valuable is the cap space if we’re not getting back as many tangible assets as we would like, because we are unloading a contract that a lot of people think is onerous.


Leafs Links:

  • Mike Johnston: Leafs not giving up 2015 pick for Babcock (Sportsnet)
    According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, the Leafs have informed the Red Wings they’re keeping their 2015 third-rounder. This means the Leafs now have the option of giving Detroit their third rounder in either 2016 or 2017.
  • Alec Brownscombe: Sheldon Keefe named Head Coach of the Toronto Marlies (MLHS)
    Bringing into the fold a 34 year old coaching prospect who is going to be simpatico with the philosophies of Marlies GM Kyle Dubas (on player development, avoiding the rigid predefinition of player roles, incorporating analytics) would seem to better fit what the Leafs are trying to build with their development arm.
  • TSN1050: Kyle Dubas discusses hiring of Sheldon Keefe (MLHS)
    Our primary goal with the Marlies is solely that we have a lot of young players playing, and more [important] than winning is that they’re developing and they’re coming along to where the public, the media, and most importantly here internally, where we see them as guys who can step in and be a part of the Leafs. Winning is important with the Marlies, but it is not even close to the top of the list in terms of what we are using to evaluate what’s happening there.
  • Damien Cox: Why Maple Leafs hiring Keefe is a good story (Sportsnet)
    It’s the latest move by the Leafs in what has become an unprecedented strip-mining operation to grab the best and brightest from the Canadian Hockey League. It’s a high-profile NHL franchise, the league’s most valuable franchise, paying the highest of compliments to the CHL, essentially making a statement that if you want smart hockey people, look to the world’s top junior league.
  • Jonas Siegel: Keefe hiring continues focus on prospect development (TSN1050)
    TSN Leafs Reporter Jonas Siegel joins Matt Cauz and Jeremy Taggart to discuss the Draft Combine in Buffalo, and the Maple Leafs’ hiring of Sheldon Keefe.
  • Hockey Central: Friedman: Possible trade destinations for Phil Kessel (MLHS)
    The first team that jumped into my head was Nashville because they’ve had interest in him in the past. When Toronto got him, Nashville was the other team looking at getting him, but I’m not convinced that Nashville is the place now for a couple reasons. Number one, they have contracts in the next year that they’ve got to do for Seth Jones and Filip Forsberg. And I’m not sure Nashville is the kind of fit that I thought they might’ve been when I first researched it.
  • Luber: McCrimmon to TO Watch Continues (Luber Lounge)
    The Toronto Maple Leafs have an offer on the table to McCrimmon, and he has four more days to accept or reject it. Sources tell me that the Leafs have a June 11th deadline for McCrimmon make a decision on whether to join the NHL club in a management position. McCrimmon apparently interviewed for the position ten days ago but has, so far, not said anything publicly about the situation.
  • Luke Fox:  Marner would ‘love’ to play for Leafs’ Hunter (Sportsnet)
    “My brother is six-two. He grew late. He just stopped growing now at 22,” said Marner, who’s eager to see Tyler Johnson play live. “A guy who wasn’t even drafted is leading the playoffs in points, always being told he was too small, and look at him now. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
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