Devils hire Sheldon Keefe as head coach

The Devils have hired Sheldon Keefe to be their next head coach.

Keefe spent the last five seasons behind the bench as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, until he was fired on May 9, a week after a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 7.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Sheldon and his family to New Jersey,” said Devils’ managing partner David Blitzer. “Finding the right coach to lead this team was our top priority, and Sheldon impressed us during every step of the interview process. He shares in our goal to unlock the full potential of this roster and deliver a fourth Stanley Cup to our fans. Sheldon and Tom will be tremendous partners because they believe in the hard work and resiliency it takes to build a consistent contender. I'm excited for the future of New Jersey Devils hockey."

“This was an invigorating process for me, having met with many qualified candidates and hearing how attractive this position was to them,” said president/general manager Tom Fitzgerald. “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. He is an excellent communicator, believes in collaboration, and will take what he has learned previously to make this team a Stanley Cup contender. The organization is incredibly excited to welcome Sheldon, his wife, Jackie, and his two boys, Landon and Wyatt to New Jersey.”

Keefe, 43, took the Leafs to the playoffs in each of his five seasons in charge after taking over in November 2019. But Toronto failed to get past the opening round in four of those years, winning one out of six playoff series. He did tally a 212-97-40 record over 349 regular season games with Toronto.

Before taking over at the NHL level, Keefe was head coach of Toronto's AHL affiliate, the Marlies. Over parts of five seasons there, he put together a 200-89-31 record with four trips to the playoffs and a Calder Cup title in 2018.

In his playing days, he was the 47th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft for the Tampa Bay Lightning but his career ended after five seasons and he entered coaching.

Keefe takes over for Lindy Ruff, who was fired in early March. Travis Green served as the interim head coach for the remaining 21 games of the 2023-24 NHL season. Green accepted the Ottawa Senators' vacant head coaching position job on May 7.