The Toronto Maple Leafs seem poised to make a trade. They still have some internal re-signings to do and are right up against the salary cap’s upper limit.
There are two likely trade assets on the team. One is right-handed defenseman Justin Holl and the other is sometimes third-line and sometimes second-line forward (balancing between center and winger) Alex Kerfoot.
Alex Kerfoot As a Valuable Trade Asset
In this post, as per the title, I will talk about Alex Kerfoot as a trade asset. In a perfect world, the Maple Leafs would keep Kerfoot. He’s a valuable asset to the team because of his versatility. He’s the kind of player coaches love. He’s been called a Swiss Army Knife, in that he’s a player who can play multiple positions. On the Maple Leafs, he sometimes played center on the third line (And when John Tavares was hurt during the 2020-21 postseason, he was the second-line center).
But most of the time, Kerfoot played as a winger on the second line. He also is a great penalty killer and often intercepts pucks because he can read the passing lanes so well. In addition, he’s played on the Maple Leafs’ second power-play unit. He’s pretty good at a lot of things.
There Are a Lot of Reasons to Like Kerfoot
There are also two intangibles. First, he’s very low-maintenance. He does his job without a lot of drama. Second, he seldom is injured. A third fact is that he’s 28 years old and had his career-best season with 13 goals and 38 assists (for 51 points) in 82 games. The point is that there are a ton of teams who’d want him.
In truth, the Maple Leafs are probably one of the teams who’d want him. But, they likely need to utilize his $3.5 million salary-cap space.
How Hard Will It Be to Find a Trading Partner?
For the reasons listed above, other NHL teams would want him in a trade. In addition, he’s a good pick-up for a less financially able team because, although his cap hit is $3.5M, he is only owed $750K in salary. Kerfoot’s modified no-trade clause does complicate things but there are bound to be several suitors among the teams he can be traded to.
What can Maple Leafs’ fans expect in return? Unless he’s part of a bigger trade, the team would likely bring back a second-round pick or a prospect. The team really can’t afford to bring in more salary with the cap stretched to the limit.
The Writing Seems to Be on the Wall
For Kerfoot, the writing seems to be on the wall. The Maple Leafs might not want to move him, but there seems little choice. He’d likely be a valued commodity in another trade.
Now the questions seem only to be “When?” and “For Whom?”