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Report: Devils receive permission to speak with Keefe

Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

The New Jersey Devils have received permission from the Toronto Maple Leafs to speak with Sheldon Keefe about their head coaching vacancy, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

The Maple Leafs fired Keefe on Thursday, while the Devils axed Lindy Ruff during the season, turning to Travis Green on an interim basis. The Ottawa Senators hired Green to be their new head coach earlier this week.

Toronto signed Keefe to a two-year extension in 2023 that hadn't kicked in before he was relieved of his duties.

Keefe replaced Mike Babcock behind Toronto's bench in November 2019, marking his first NHL gig after four years with the AHL's Marlies. He led the Maple Leafs to an impressive 212-97-40 regular-season record but was let go after failing to advance past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in five tries.

The Devils regressed from 112 points in 2022-23 to 81 points this past season. New Jersey was done in by injuries to key players and poor goaltending, which general manager Tom Fitzgerald vowed to address this offseason.

The Maple Leafs and Devils make up two of the league's six head coach openings. The Los Angeles Kings, Seattle Kraken, Winnipeg Jets, and San Jose Sharks are also in the market for a new bench boss.

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