With scoring 51 points (13 goals & 38 assists) last year, Alex Kerfoot is coming off a career season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 28-year-old has one year left on his contract, that carries a cap hit of $3.5 million. However, given the structure of the contract, he is only owed $750,000 (league minimum salary) in real dollars. Kerfoot has also been the talk of trade rumours here in Toronto. Below is a list of teams who it might make sense to be pursue a player like Alex Kerfoot.
1. Winnipeg Jets - The Jets often have trouble attracting free agents. Earlier this week we saw a report that new Leaf Calle Jarnkrok
elected to sign in Toronto, despite the Jets offering him more money. Perhaps going the trade route makes sense for the team in order to improve. Additionally, the Jets were on the outside looking into last years playoffs. With a top goalie in his prime (Connor Hellebuyck
), and a core group of players who are mostly still in their prime, Winnipeg may feel like they are still in a window of contention. And if they struck out in the free agent market, perhaps they can add a versitile forward through the trading market. They never replaced Andrew Copp
, who was traded at last season's deadline, and they still have over six million dollars in cap space. Finally, as a small market team (Forbes magazine ranked them #26 of 32 NHL teams in terms of the teams overall dollar value) the Jets may like the idea of paying a player who adds what Kerfoot does for the league minimum salary. If the Leafs do decide to move Kerfoot, perhaps the Jets would have some interest.
2. New York Islanders - After a terrible start last season, the Isles missed the playoffs by a considerable margin. However, it is possible the team is not as bad as their record from last season indicates. For starters, they began the year on a 13 game road trip, which would make it hard for any team to get into a rhythm. Secondly, they were hit hard with Covid-19 cases early in the season. If the Islanders still feel they can contend for a playoff spot, perhaps a guy like Alex Kerfoot makes sense to add some secondary scoring. They still have over $11 million in cap dollars, albeit with two notable restricted free agents still not signed. It is also rumored the Isles are interested in former Leaf Nazem Kadri
, who was once traded for Alex Kerfoot. Some believe Kadri is already signed in New York and that the team is keeping it a secret for now. But if this turns out not to be the case, the Islanders will still have some cap space to maneuver and may consider a versatile forward like Kerfoot as a runner-up prize to the caveated Nazem Kadri
, if they strike out there.
3. Carolina Hurricanes - This makes sense for a couple reasons. For starters, the Canes are another small market team (#27 of 32 in terms of team overall dollar value). Paying a guy $750,000 to bring what Kerfoot does may be very enticing for ownership groups who need to pay special attention to their bottom line. And with the newly acquired Max Pacioretty
going on the long term injured reserve, it is possible the team wants to add another forward who can play all three positions and anywhere in the lineup. That said, the Canes have a lot of forward depth. But as a team in a contention window, it is possible they decide to go all in and utilize some of their new found LTIR cap.