Roundtable: Evaluating the Toronto Maple Leafs Coaching Change

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on from the bench during a game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The game was Keefe's first game as an NHL head coach. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on from the bench during a game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The game was Keefe's first game as an NHL head coach. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: President Brendan Shanahan (L) and head coach Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs talk on the draft floor during Rounds 2-7 of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: President Brendan Shanahan (L) and head coach Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs talk on the draft floor during Rounds 2-7 of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

David Scala

Moving on from Mike Babcock was a decision that had to be made. Since the hiring of Brendan Shanahan, the standard the Toronto Maple Leafs have set throughout management and their players has been of class and respect.

For a team with such a terrible past, righting the ship was a key component in getting the franchise going again.

When the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Mike Babcock, they also hired a respected man across the entire NHL. With a Stanley Cup to his name and numerous Gold Medals internationally, the Leafs were about to completely gut and reform the culture of their team.

Mike Babcock was and still is a fantastic coach. The lessons he instilled onto the players he has coached allowed them to grow and become the players they are today. There is no doubting that Mike Babcock hands are all over the progression of Morgan Rielly, and now Colorado Avalanche, Nazem Kadri.

All things must come to an end though, and in professional sports, things change quickly. The decision to move on from Babcock is a wise one. Every coach has their shelf life on the bench, and Babcock was wearing thin back to last years playoffs against the Boston Bruins.

For Sheldon Keefe, his job is actually quite simple. Unlike most coaching changes around the league, Keefe is familiar with many of the players on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster and their system. Having coached many of the players during his time with the Marlies, Keefe’s biggest challenge is taking his skills and adapting them to the NHL level.

With new rules, unfamiliar teams, and a different schedule, Keefe will have to adapt to the NHL quickly.