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Treliving bringing back Keefe, confident in signing Matthews and Nylander


Sheldon Keefe will return as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, general manager Brad Treliving confirmed Tuesday.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger adds a contract extension is expected to follow for Keefe this summer.

Making a decision on Keefe's future was one on Treliving's top priorities upon taking the job in Toronto last month, along with determining the future of the "Core Four"

Treliving said Tuesday he believes the team can sign both Auston Matthews and William Nylander to contract extension this summer as the two forwards become eligible on July 1 - one year from hitting unrestricted free agency.

"I'm confident we're going to get both players signed until proven otherwise," the general manager said.

ContentId(1.1978016): Treliving confident Leafs can reach contract extensions with Matthews and Nylander

Treliving also gave an update on his ability to sit with the Leafs at their draft table while still being under contract with the Calgary Flames. He said he will be able to join the Leafs table once the Flames have made their selection at 16th overall. The Maple Leafs' first pick of the draft is scheduled to be at 28th overall.


Keefe set for fifth season with Leafs

Treliving was non-committal when asked about Keefe's future as head coach at his introductory press conference on June 1.

The incoming general manager said he had spoken to Keefe and that the head coach was in a "unique situation" after the team's front office changes. He added he would meet with Keefe and make a decision on what's best for the future of the team.

“My outside lens of Sheldon, I think he’s a really good coach," Treliving said. "We’re going to sit down.

“... I’m coming in with no preconceived notions.”

Keefe was promoted to the role of head coach from the AHL's Toronto Marlies in 2019 under then-general manager Kyle Dubas. Keefe has been tied to Dubas throughout his career, serving as head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Soo Greyhounds under Dubas before following him to the Leafs organization with the Marlies.

The 42-year-old just completed his fourth season behind the Leafs bench, guiding the team to a 50-21-11 record. Toronto won its first playoff series since 2004, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games, before falling to the Florida Panthers in five games in the second round.

Keefe said after the playoff exit that he believed the team took a step forward this season.

“In terms of our core group, I feel like we have grown a lot together,” Keefe said last month. “On a day like today, it is really tough to feel or sense any sort of progress, but I do feel we have made progress as a group. A lot of the disappointment that comes in losing is attached to the excitement you have for your team and the potential that your team has.

"That excitement and potential — I believe — is still very much there. I think we feel that. I think we feel good about the fact that we were able to push through the first round, and yet you also sense that you are so close, and the margin is so thin to get beyond that — to get from eight to four and ultimately from two to one. You feel close, and yet you recognize how far away it is.”

Keefe, who has guided the Maple Leafs to the playoffs in each of his four seasons, has a record 166-71-30 with the team. His 166 wins are sixth-most in club history.

In his first three playoffs, the Leafs were 0-6 in potential series-winning games, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Montreal Canadiens in 2021 and a 3-2 lead to the Lightning in 2021.