Sheldon Keefe [1296x729]
Sheldon Keefe [1296x729] (Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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The New Jersey Devils have hired Sheldon Keefe as their new coach, a source confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.

Keefe's deal with the Devils is for four years, a source told ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

Keefe, 43, was fired as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 9, less than a week after they lost in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was replaced by former St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube.

Keefe had two years remaining on a contract extension signed in August, but the Maple Leafs are no longer on the hook for that expense.

The Leafs made the playoffs in all five seasons Keefe coached the team but advanced past the first round only one time. That playoff series win in 2023 was the first for Toronto since 2004. Keefe compiled a record of 212-97-40 with the Leafs for a .622 points percentage.

Keefe played 125 games in the NHL as a winger with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He coached the OHL Soo Greyhounds for three years and the AHL Toronto Marlies for five years before taking over the Leafs, working with former Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas at each stop.

The Devils fired coach Lindy Ruff during the 2023-24 season, which saw them miss the playoffs and regress by 31 points after advancing to the second round of the postseason during the previous campaign.

The New Jersey vacancy was considered one of the most desirable in the NHL thanks to the Devils' collection of 25-and-under stars Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Luke Hughes. Keefe had experience in Toronto working with elite young talents such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

The Devils reportedly interviewed Berube, former Edmonton Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft and former Los Angeles Kings coach Todd McLellan, among others.

The Keefe hiring was first reported by Boston-based writer Brian McGonagle.