Toronto Maple Leafs Odds: Craig Berube, Gerard Gallant early favourites to replace Sheldon Keefe

Jordan Ramsay | Updated May 10, 2024

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche

Another year down and it's another first-round playoff exit for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Last year it was general manager Kyle Dubas who paid the price for Toronto’s lack of playoff success and this year it was head coach Sheldon Keefe, who was fired before his two-year contract extension even kicked in.

Money isn’t an issue for the Toronto Maple Leafs, so you can expect them to cast a wide net in their coaching search. With plenty of available and possibly soon-to-be-available head coach candidates on the market, let’s take a look at the top contender for the Leafs gig.

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Craig Berube (+125)

Craig Berube was the favourite to land the Toronto job before Keefe was even fired. A former Leaf player himself, Berube is one of the most experienced candidates available and his demanding coaching style could be exactly what Toronto needs.

Berube has a 281-190-72 regular season record as an NHL head coach, split between the Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues. He’s made the playoffs in five of seven seasons as a head coach and led the Blues to a Stanley Cup in 2019 before he was fired earlier this season. Berube is the only Stanley Cup winning coach since 2016 on the market and his ability to hold players accountable is exactly what the Leafs need.

Gerard Gallant (+135)

Another old school coach, Gerard Gallant has a 369-262-4 regular season record spread across stints with Columbus, Florida, Vegas and the Rangers. He is a three-time finalist for the Jack Adams Award and he won it in 2018 when he led Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s first year of existence.

The knock against Gallant is that he seems to wear out his welcome fairly quickly. He was fired midway through his third season with both Florida and Vegas and he only lasted two seasons with New York. Players seem to think he’s too demanding, but I would argue that’s exactly the type of coach Toronto needs.

Rod Brind’Amour (+145)

It’s crazy that Rod Brind’Amour is even on this list, not just because he’s currently coaching Carolina in the second round of the playoffs, but because the Hurricanes were too cheap to lock him up earlier. “Rod the Bod” is set to become a free agent when Carolina is likely knocked out of the playoffs by the Rangers and there will be plenty of teams calling on him.

Brind’Amour has made the playoffs all six seasons as head coach of the Hurricanes, winning at least one round five times. He’s led Carolina to three division titles, two conference final appearances and he won the Jack Adams Award in 2021. If Brind’Amour becomes available, the Leafs should back the Brinks truck up straight to his front door.

Other contenders

Joel Quenneville (+155)

There’s a lot of noise surrounding the potential reinstatement of Joel Quenneville being reinstated by the NHL and he’ll be a top coaching target if he becomes available. His 969 career coaching wins is second-most all-time behind Scotty Bowman and he’s won three Stanley Cups while missing the playoffs just twice in 25 years as an NHL head coach. However, given the controversy surrounding Quenneville, it seems unlikely that a major market like Toronto would be a fit for him.

Guy Boucher (+210)

The Leafs could look internally and give assistant coach Guy Boucher a shot. It would provide familiarity for the players and it’s believed Boucher was a finalist for the job when Mike Babcock was hired nine years ago. However, this hire also seems far fetched. Boucher didn’t have much success when he coached in Tampa Bay or Ottawa and he’s the one who ran the Toronto power play that crashed and burned in the playoffs. Not exactly what the fans are looking for.

Paul Bissonnette (+300)

Who doesn’t want to see Paul Bissonnette get hired in Toronto (other than Leafs fans)? Bissonnette, who played 202 games for Pittsburgh and Phoenix, scored a whopping seven career NHL goals and he already dissects the Maple Leafs regularly on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. I’m all-in on shaking things up and putting “Biz Nazty” behind the bench in the world’s biggest hockey market.

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