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Devils receive permission to speak with Keefe


The New Jersey Devils have sought and received permission to speak with former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.

The news comes just one day after Keefe was relieved of his duties with the Maple Leafs. LeBrun reported on Thursday the Devils were expected to have interest in the former Toronto bench boss.

Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving called Keefe an "excellent coach and a great man" in a news release Thursday and said Friday during his season-ending media availability alongside team president Brendan Shanahan and Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment president Keith Pelley he didn't expect Keefe to be out for work long.

Keefe ended his Leafs tenure with an overall mark of 212-97-40 (.633) in regular-season action, but 16-21 (.432) in the playoffs and winning just one series in five years.

"I didn't get it done in the playoffs," Keefe said in a video posted to social media Thursday. "I didn't push our team over the line and deliver. I accept responsibility for that. No excuses. That's the job. I didn't get it done. That's the reality of the business and I accept it."

The Devils fired head coach Lindy Ruff in early March during his fourth season behind the New Jersey bench and replaced him with Travis Green on an interim basis. Green joined the Ottawa Senators as their next head coach while Ruff will make his second coaching stint with the Buffalo Sabres next season. 

After making the playoffs for the first time since 2018 last season, the Devils were expected to be a postseason contender once again in 2023-24, but got off to a slow start and eventually finished seventh in the Metropolitan Division with a 39-39-5 record.