Former NHL Player Says Leafs' Keefe Extension NOT A Vote Of Confidence

After the departure of GM Kyle Dubas, many wondered about the future of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, who was entering the final year of his contract. But new GM Brad Treliving has signed Keefe to a two-year extension, giving the coach a vote of confidence... Or is it?

Former NHL netminder Mike McKenna, an insider and writer for Daily Faceoff, has posited that Treliving's move isn't really a vote of confidence, but rather, "is nothing more than a time buy for Treliving."

Going into the 2023-24 season with Keefe on an expiring contract would have been a terrible scenario in Toronto. Every media scrum would feature questions about his future. Simply put: having Keefe on a lame duck deal would have created a massive distraction.

McKenna explains that it was definitely the right decision to give Keefe the short extension, and allows him to focus on the task at hand for a team that is smack in the middle of its championship window. 

"Treliving lifted a burden off his head coach and gave him a chance to focus solely on winning the Stanley Cup," said McKenna.

But, of course, this is the NHL, and we know that things can change—"in a matter of weeks or days" as he added. 

The other key factor here that led to an extension is that former Leaf coach Mike Babcock's eight-year contract finally expired this summer, freeing up some cash for another coaching commitment. The team had no problem deposing of Babcock with plenty of years and money left on his deal. 

In reality, the bottom line is that all of this doesn't take the pressure off Keefe. In professional sports, coaches are hired to be fired. And if the Leafs don't take another big step forward in their Stanley Cup quest next spring, the questions about his future will be all the rage once again... extension or not. 

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