Devils will reportedly hire Sheldon Keefe as their coach -- ending all that Mike Sullivan speculation

Matt Vensel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Hockey

PITTSBURGH — The New Jersey Devils will reportedly hire Sheldon Keefe as their next coach, killing any lingering curiosity about whether Mike Sullivan would depart Pittsburgh this summer to go coach the Penguins' Metropolitan Division rivals.

New Jersey's hiring also means that Keefe will not — at least at this time — follow Kyle Dubas from Toronto to the Pittsburgh organization. He coached under Dubas in both Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League.

Keefe was said to be in demand after he was let go by the Maple Leafs earlier this month after the Leafs again bowed out of the playoffs prematurely. Per multiple reports, the Devils will officially name Keefe their coach on Thursday.

As for Sullivan, it is unclear if there was any substance to a story from the Toronto Star that circulated a "rumor" that Sullivan, who has three years left on his contract with Pittsburgh, was interested in leaving the Penguins for the Devils.

After that speculation was shared by the Toronto Star on April 26, the possibility in the following days became fodder for other media outlets. Asked about the rumor, Sullivan didn't respond to a request for comment from the Post-Gazette.


The chatter surrounding Sullivan soon died down, even after the Penguins parted ways with associate coach Todd Reirden, his right-hand man since 2020.

The Devils hiring Keefe confirms Sullivan is not headed to the swamp.

The Penguins are still looking for a replacement for Reirden on Sullivan's staff and a head coach for their American Hockey League club in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It would have made sense for the Penguins to target Keefe for one of those openings had he not immediately gotten another shot at leading an NHL team.

(c)2024 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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