The Toronto Maple Leafs may unfortunately be on the verge of firing Sheldon Keefe sooner rather than later if the current trend continues.
With the current GM, Brad Treliving (who some speculate could have a future as a rodeo clown), turning into one of the worst GMs in team history within just six months of taking the job, concerns for the Toronto Maple Leafs are mounting.
Typically, it’s recommended to wait 3-5 years to accurately assess a GM’s success. However, when a GM is handed $20M in cap space and has four generational talents at forward but still fails to produce the best team in hockey, a failing grade seems warranted.
The NHL Trade Deadline looms less than one month away, giving Treliving a last-minute opportunity to salvage the situation. However, expectations are low regarding any miraculous moves. Instead, there’s fear he may squander valuable assets for subpar acquisitions like Chris Tanev, a move unlikely to yield playoff success.
Speaking of playoffs, it’s no longer a guarantee that the Leafs will even secure a spot in the First Round. While odds may suggest they have a better chance of making it than missing out, the race for a Wild Card spot is tight if Toronto doesn’t clinch one through the Atlantic Division.
Should the Leafs fail to make the playoffs this year, Sheldon Keefe’s termination seems inevitable, potentially even before the regular season concludes. In a surprising turn of events, Todd McLellan was recently fired prior to the NHL All-Star Break in hopes of igniting the LA Kings playoff aspirations. McLellan, in his fifth season with the Kings, had never advanced past the First Round, signaling the end of his tenure.
Keefe, on the other hand, has never missed the playoffs during his coaching tenure, yet he’s only advanced past the First Round once. Pressure is mounting as he’s visibly fatigued and increasingly agitated behind the bench. Despite his coaching prowess and personal qualities, the team may benefit from a fresh voice in the locker room.
Stars like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares could use a different perspective, potentially sparking a change in the team’s performance.
As the season progresses, the window for firing becomes increasingly risky. However, if incidents like a potential suspension for Morgan Rielly lead to a further decline in the Leafs defense and subsequent losing streak, Keefe’s fate could be sealed.