r1014007 600x400 3 2 - Replay Madness

NASHVILLE — Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said coach Sheldon Keefe will return next season.

Keefe was hired by the previous Toronto GM, Kyle Dubas, who parted ways with the team last month and was replaced by Treliving. Keefe’s job status was in question, but Treliving said his evaluation determined that the coach should remain in place for Toronto.

“It was difficult and probably uncomfortable at times, but really excited to be working with him,” Treliving said.

Keefe, 42, has one more year on his contract. Treliving said the two will work on a contract extension. The coach is entering his fifth season behind the bench with the Maple Leafs, qualifying for the playoffs in each of his first four seasons and leading Toronto to its first playoff series win since 2004 in the 2022-23 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I think Sheldon’s got a really good relationship with his players. I think there’s a real strong bond. There’s lots of belief both ways,” Treliving said.

Determining Keefe’s status was one piece of business for Treliving. Next up for the general manager: Working on contract extensions for star center Auston Matthews and winger William Nylander, who both have one year left on their deals before unrestricted free agency.

Matthews, 25, makes $11,640,250 against the salary cap. Nylander, 27, makes $6,962,366 against the cap. Both players will have trade protection in the last year of their contracts beginning on July 1.

Treliving said “the world doesn’t stop” after July 1 if the two players haven’t re-signed. “I’m confident we’re going to get both players signed until proven otherwise,” he said.

The Leafs GM has unfortunate experience with star players who are nearing free agency. When Treliving was general manager of the Calgary Flames in 2022, he watched Johnny Gaudreau leave as a free agent to the Columbus Blue Jackets before trading Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers when he made it clear he wouldn’t re-sign with Calgary.

“I think we all learn from experiences,” Treliving said. “You’re wiser. You maybe avoid some potholes that you stepped in prior.”

Source link

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe will return next season, says GM