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Devils hire former Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe as next head coach

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The New Jersey Devils have hired Sheldon Keefe as the franchise’s next head coach, according to an announcement from the team. Keefe spent the last five seasons as the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach before parting ways earlier this month.

“This is an exciting time, and I’m honored to be a member of the Devils’ organization,” Keefe said in a statement. “To have the chance to lead this young, dynamic team and to see the potential that can still be unlocked is all very attractive for me. After meeting with David, Josh, Tom, and other members of the organization and in talking with my family, this was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. I know this organization has a great history of winning and I look forward to getting started to work on leading them back to that level.”

Keefe, 43, tallied a 212-97-40 regular-season record as the Maple Leafs head coach and those 212 wins are the fifth-most in franchise history. His points percentage (.665) also ranks first among all head coaches in Maple Leafs history.

The former Maple Leafs head coach became the second-fastest coach to reach the 200-win mark in their NHL career behind only former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. Toronto qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all five of Keefe’s seasons at the helm.

The 43-year-old also spent time in the NHL as a player. Keefe was selected with the No. 47 pick in the 1999 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and appeared in 125 career NHL games from 2000 until 2003.

The Devils are coming off of a season in which they racked up a 38-39-5 record (81 points) and finished 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

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