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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GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Maple Leafs watches from the bench during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Maple Leafs watches from the bench during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 21, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Eric Cruikshank

While Sheldon Keefe’s coaching experience in the NHL is about as small of a sample size as it can get, the Toronto Maple Leafs made the right decision firing Mike Babcock.

There is no question that the morale has drastically changed in the locker room since Babcock’s firing, and it has translated on the ice. Against Arizona, the Leafs seemed to play with way more confidence, so much so that it felt as if some of the players were being held on a tight leash while under Babcock (no surprises there).

Sheldon Keefe brings a fresh, winning mentality behind the Leafs bench who I think we will begin to see, is going to take the extra time to focus in on each individual on this team in order to make them better.

Keefe is widely regarded as a great player’s coach, and that is what this team needs right now. He knows the majority of this team better than anyone, having previously coached 11 of the current 23 players on the roster within the Toronto Marlies organization, and will be able to quickly transition into coaching this NHL roster better than anyone out there.

The Leafs have a tough road ahead, to say the least. There is absolutely no room for error, especially with this roster being plagued with injuries this early into the season, but I have full confidence in Keefe’s ability to put this team in the best possible position to win.

Who knows, he might even get really crazy and let Andersen play a back-to-back.