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Is Sheldon Keefe Pittsburgh bound? NHL rumors swirl as Leafs' playoff hopes fade and Penguins' Mike Sullivan eyes a change.

The NHL coaching carousel never sleeps, and the latest rumors swirling around the league could lead to a major shakeup behind the benches of two storied franchises.

With the Toronto Maple Leafs facing another potentially early playoff exit, head coach Sheldon Keefe’s job security is hanging by a thread. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has reportedly expressed interest in joining his friend Tom Fitzgerald, general manager of the New Jersey Devils.

If these dominos fall in place, it could pave the way for the Penguins to poach Keefe and usher in a new era in Pittsburgh. Here are three reasons why this move makes sense:

1. Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe: A Rekindled Partnership

Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas is no stranger to Sheldon Keefe. The two worked together for several years when Dubas was GM of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. Keefe was his head coach, and they have a strong working relationship. Dubas was also instrumental in bringing Keefe to Toronto. Dubas may be eager to work with his former colleague once again.

2. A Change of Scenery

Sheldon Keefe has been under immense pressure in Toronto, and a change could do him some good. The Penguins boast an elite core in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Erik Karlsson, and Kris Letang. Moving to a team with lower expectations (at least initially) and a superstar roster could give him the perfect opportunity to showcase his coaching abilities.

3. Mike Sullivan’s Desire for Change

Reports suggest Mike Sullivan may be open to a move to New Jersey. As a proven Stanley Cup-winning coach, he would be an attractive fit for the Devils. If he leaves Pittsburgh, it creates a logical vacancy for Keefe.


While nothing is set in stone, the timing for this potential coaching swap seems eerily right. Of course, it all hinges on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff performance. But if they falter again, don’t be surprised to see Sheldon Keefe calling the plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins next season.

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