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Sheldon Keefe: don’t rule out the idea of him signing a contract extension this summer

When Kyle Dubas was relieved of his duties in Toronto, it was expected that a wind of change would blow through the organization. With a new man at the helm (who, as we learned this week, is Brad Treliving), the idea of him bringing in “his world” made sense.

And inevitably, it left some doubt about Sheldon Keefe’s future in town. After all, it was Dubas who appointed him head coach of the team, and now that he’s gone, it was unclear what Treliving intended to do with him.

This week, my colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois explained that we shouldn’t take it for granted that Keefe would automatically be fired. Today, Elliotte Friedman tells us that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Keefe sign a contract extension this summer.

A new GM signing an existing coach to a new contract before he’s even seen him coach a game is something I haven’t seen very often.

That said, when you look at Keefe’s track record, it’s easy to understand why Treliving wants to trust him. Despite the club’s misses in the playoffs (and even then, he made it past the first round this year), Keefe has a 116-50-19 regular-season record since taking over in 2019.

His winning percentage (67.8%) is the best in the organization’s history for coaches who have managed more than 15 games in town, by far.

At his first press conference in Toronto, Treliving stated that he wanted to give the runner a chance and evaluate Keefe. However, according to Friedman, preliminary discussions have already taken place with Keefe and he could actually sign a new contract shortly.

It should also be remembered that Treliving had kept Bob Hartley as coach following his arrival, even though he hadn’t hired him. So we know he’s done much the same thing in the past, as he reiterated when talking about Keefe at his press briefing.

Keefe is currently under contract until the end of the 2023-24 season, so Treliving could evaluate him over the coming year and make a decision afterwards. However, the new GM seems to have such confidence in his coach that a new contract as early as this summer would be a possibility.

I admit I’m surprised, but it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

In a gaggle

– Speaking of Maple Leafs coaches. Babcock, who has been the obvious favourite in Columbus for some time,is expected to be officially announced as the Blue Jackets’ coach in early July.

– Nice read.

– A promising duel.

– I like their broadcast team, personally.

– The 17-year-old Quebecer makes her mark on the national team. My text on the subject.

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