Craig Berube named Leafs head coach

Berube will be the 41st coach in Leafs history.

St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube watches the game from the bench against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are tired of living in futility. Just days after firing Sheldon Keefe, the embattled club announced the hiring of a former Stanley Cup winner to take the reins.

Former St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube will be the 41st bench boss for the Toronto Maple Leafs, via Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Berube guided the Blues to a championship in 2019 and also played 40 games for the Leafs in 1991-92.

Will Berube be able to finally get the Canadian club to the promised land?

Berube will have to build a championship culture with the Leafs

St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube watches the game from the bench against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. © Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
Unlike St. Louis, Toronto hasn’t won a title since 1967. The club has only gotten past the Eastern Conference First Round once since 2004, and it suffered another disappointing exit this year. The Leafs lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins in the opening series. Team president Brendan Shanahan sounded off on the result, via ClutchPoints’ Colin Gallant.

“Our results in the playoffs have not been good enough,” Shanahan said. “That’s on me…It has certainly become evident that we have to assess all of those things and assess if we have to do some very difficult things to make the team better.”

One of those “difficult things” has now been taken care of. While Keefe had a positive record with Toronto, he was never able to help the team shake off its playoff demons. The 43-year-old went 212-97-40 in the regular season, but just 16-21 in the playoffs. His best season was 2022-23, the only time he took the Leafs to the second round.

General manager Brad Treliving explained the reasoning behind Keefe’s firing, via

“We had gotten to a place where just a new voice was needed,” he said. “And that’s the unfortunate part of this business. I do not believe that you turn coaches and you keep turning coaches. I don’t think that is the recipe for success at all. I just felt at the end of the day, when I look at the totality of his time here, a change was required.”

Berube was fired himself just a few months ago. The 58-year-old was let go by the Blues on December 12th and has been an analyst with Turner Sports since then.

Despite his firing, Berube’s track record shows that he’s qualified to navigate difficult waters. The former Philadelphia Flyers coach took over the St. Louis job on November 20th, 2018, replacing Mike Yeo. Berube led then led the club to the sport’s pinnacle, despite taking over midseason.

Berube was also a top candidate to fill the New Jersey Devils’ coaching vacancy, via NJ Hockey Now. That job remains open.

The Canadian native is 281-190-72 in the regular season, and 27-31 in the playoffs. Despite his losing playoff record, his championship pedigree should buy him some benefit of the doubt in his new role. Toronto isn’t in a position to put him on a short leash, as the club would rather have continuity than a coaching carousel. Now that the Leafs have checked off the coaching box, the organization will look to upgrade the roster to help Berube take the team to the next level.

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