The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Not Hire Craig Berube

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired Sheldon Keefe, but Craig Berube isn't the answer.

In my opinion, Sheldon Keefe was one of the better coaches in Toronto Maple Leafs history and should be viewed positively by the fanbase. He's no Pat Quinn or Pat Burns, but he did guide this team to the playoffs every single year and was a breath of fresh air after Mike Babcock.

Not only that, but he developed a ton of great players on-route to winning a Calder Cup with the Toronto Marlies.

The combination of Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas was a winning culture built on speed and skill, but after years of failing to reach the next step, Keefe will follow in Dubas' footsteps, searching for a new team this offseason. I don't think it'll be particualry hard for Keefe to find a new job, based on his resume, age and overall demenor, so I wish him all the best.

As the Leafs most likely look for their next head coach this offseason, plenty of marquee names have surfaced, with Craig Berube being at the forefront. From everything I know about Berube, he sounds like a fantastic leader and someone who you would want to run through a wall for. He's a former Stanley Cup winning coach and his resume should inspire every player in the room.

Berube Is a Great Coach, But Leafs Have Bigger Issues

However, I don't think he's the answer and here's why.

There's no coach that is going to change the way that Auston Matthews, William Nylander, John Tavares and Mitch Marner play in the playoffs together. After eight seasons, we know who these players are and there's no way they're going to change. Babcok came from the school of hard knocks, which rubbed all the players the wrong way, and then when "nice-guy" Keefe came in, the results never changed.

The Leafs could hire the greatest coach to ever live and pair him with the best sports-science individuals in the world, but nothing is going to change, unless the players change. This doesn't mean that one of, or multiple of, Marner, Tavares, Nylander and Matthews need to get traded or they need to blow up the organization, but instead, they need to improve two important facets of the roster.

The Leafs were not a bad team this year and whether or not Keefe, Berube or a random fan was behind the bench during the playoffs, the results were never going to change until the team found a number-one goalie and an elite defensemen.

We yell and moan at Marner every single season, and although most of it is fair criticism, the majority of it isn't his fault, because the overall team was never good enough to win. When you win a Stanley Cup, you need elite goaltending and at least one, if not two, top defensemen. You need a Victor Hedman, Cale Makar or Alex Pietrangelo, paired with a Andrei Vasilevskiy or fairy-tale run of Aidin Hill, and the Leafs weren't going to get that this year.

They had a small window where Joseph Woll could have saved their season and guided them into the Second Round with his elite goaltending, but as we all know, he got injured before Game 7 and the Leafs season fell with it.


All I'm trying to say is that although Berube is a good coach, he's not the answer until the Leafs fix their goaltending and defensive issues, because regardless of who's behind the bench, this team won't succeed unless they solve those problems.