Rangers Rumors: Sheldon Keefe or Mike Sullivan for next head coach?

penguins hemlet rule
May 15, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan walks off the ice after losing to the New York Rangers 4-3 in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers could have a new head coach option after tonight.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs lose to the Florida Panthers, who lead this series 3-0, Sheldon Keefe is likely to be let go. Despite beating the Tampa Bay Lightning and getting Toronto their first series win since 2004, his star-studded team is on the brink of elimination against the East’s second wild card.

To be fair, the Panthers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Boston Bruins to open the playoffs. An impressive feat considering the historic regular-season the Bruins had.

Related: Rangers dismiss two assistant coaches

Rangers Rumors: Sheldon Keefe or Mike Sullivan

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
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Keefe, 42, has spent four seasons as an NHL coach all behind the Leafs bench. He’s amassed a record of 166-71-30 over that span. However, his postseason record of 12-16 heading into tonight’s elimination game is less than desirable.

That being said, Keefe has never had good goaltending while he’s been with Toronto. Matter of fact, at least 10 different goalies have suited up in a Leafs uniform during his tenure.

Would having Igor Shesterkin help Keefe, who prior to becoming the Leafs head coach in 2019-20 was considered one of the best bench bosses not in the NHL?

Of course, the Rangers are really looking to bring in someone with a track record for winning Stanley Cups. Many fans are lamenting or scheming on how to get Mike Sullivan to coach the Blueshirts.

Well according to the NY Post’s Larry Brooks, it could be a possibility.

Should the Leafs lose and there’s a complete housecleaning in Toronto, GM Kyle Dubas may be available. The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently searching for Ron Hextall’s replacement and could bring in Dubas, who in turn may hire Keefe to coach.

Well that leaves Sullivan open to joining the Rangers as their new leading man.

Sullivan, 55, has a record of 407-253-15 over 10 seasons split between the Bruins and Penguins. He’s won the Stanley Cup twice with Pittsburgh (2016 and 2017) and has a playoff record of 47-42.

Funny thing, I do remember Rangers fans screaming their collective lungs out over the team’s anemic power play when Sullivan was an assistant coach under John Tortorella from 2009-2013. I guess watching him win titles elsewhere seems to have changed a lot of minds.

Whether this wild scenario happens or not remains to be seen. The current field of candidates to replace Gerard Gallant doesn’t bring with it a whole lot of excitement, so whipping up dream storylines makes sense.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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