Sheldon Keefe drops sobering take on Maple Leafs future after playoff heartbreak

Sheldon Keefe’s future is unclear.

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe talking about his future after the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs once again failed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s been eight years with the team’s current core of players. And all they have to show for it is one first-round victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning last year. This latest failure may cost Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe his job.

Keefe has long endured speculation over his performance behind the bench. This year, though, the Toronto head coach may have reached the end of the road. At the very least, the veteran bench boss has heard the noise. He is also aware that whatever happens next is not up to him.

“I’m in the coaching business, and in the coaching business you don’t get to make decisions about your position,” he said. “So for me, it’s out of my control. But I believe in myself greatly. And I love coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Sheldon Keefe addresses expectations

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe speaks to the media after being defeated by the Boston Bruins in game seven of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden.Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Sheldon Keefe is well aware of the expectations in place for his team. The Maple Leafs have one of the most expensive, and talented, rosters in the league. Starting in 2024-25, Toronto will have four players on their roster making north of $10 million per season.

Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares are among the best in the league. Matthews has already won a Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. And this season, he scored 69 goals, earning the second 60+ goal season of his career. Unfortunately, this has not translated to playoff success.

The Maple Leafs won their first playoff series in nearly 20 years last season. However, they have gone one-and-done in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in every other postseason appearance. That includes their recent loss to the Boston Bruins, a team they have not eliminated from the playoffs since 1959.

“You have a team that has expectations and has goals in mind, and when you don’t reach them it’s not a good feeling,” Keefe said, via “My job as coach is to find solutions and chart a path ahead for the group to come through. They need to succeed at the most important time of the year, and we haven’t done that.”

Accepting responsibility

One common theme from Sheldon Keefe’s exit interview was accountability. The Maple Leafs head coach made no excuses for his team’s failures in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He understands how the business side of the NHL works, and will accept whatever decision Maple Leafs management makes in the coming days.

“My job is to find solutions and help direct and create a path for our team and continue to move forward, and that’s my focus. I understand that ownership and management, they make those types of decisions. And, as I said, I accept responsibility for not meeting results,” Keefe said, via

There are numerous head coaching openings across the league. For instance, the Seattle Kraken recently fired their head coach. And the New Jersey Devils are on the hunt for a new coach of their own. Sheldon Keefe should have no shortage of options if he wishes to continue coaching should the Maple Leafs move on this summer.

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