In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs Random Thoughts, I’ll take a look at the Maple Leafs’ Alex Kerfoot.
On Trading Alex Kerfoot
The Maple Leafs don’t seem to know what to do with Alex Kerfoot. He has a contract that almost begs him to be traded. First, he provides the Maple Leafs with some well-needed salary-cap space. Second, Kerfoot is a player that can help other teams. Last season, he had a career season where he set a number of personal records. So he can score, and that’s attractive.
He’s also quite able to play up and down the lineup. He’s a good penalty killer. And he’s both a center and a winger. And, he does this for a mid-range value contract of $3.5 million. Some Maple Leafs’ writers seem to want to trade him because he makes too much money and because he doesn’t seem to be that valuable to the team.
Even with Kerfoot’s Value to the Team, Would He Be Traded?
But the value to one’s team can also be measured in bang for the buck. What value does Kerfoot give for his cost? It seems pretty high, which makes him worth hanging on to – if the team has the funds. It might be that the Maple Leafs will just keep him.
However, if the Maple Leafs really want to trade Kerfoot, the most likely landing spot for him might be in Arizona with the Coyotes. Arizona has more than $20 million in cap space remaining and are bouncing down against the salary-cap floor of $61 million. Kerfoot might be attractive to the Coyotes because he’d give them a salary-cap bump of $3.5 million but would only cost them $750,000 in money owing to him during the season.
What Would the Coyotes Get and What Would the Maple Leafs Get in Return?
In Kerfoot, the Coyotes would receive a 51-point scorer from last season, with a plus/minus of plus-19. Although Arizona would likely not want to move draft picks, they right now have the Maple Leafs 2023 third-round pick and the Maple Leafs 2025 second-round pick that moved there in the Ilya Lyubushkin trade.
If the Coyotes sent the Maple Leafs back their picks, the Maple Leafs would clear $3.5 million from its salary-cap space. That space sits currently at about $1.4 million over the salary-cap limit. In terms of leverage it would give the team $2.1 million in the bank it could use to re-sign Rasmus Sandin.
Who Would Fit Into Kerfoot’s Spot?
As far as who’d fit in Kerfoot’s slot, there are a number of options. Some of the newcomers might work. Nicolas Aube-Kubel or Adam Gaudette might be options. As well, the organization would love to see how Nick Robertson might perform with a solid opportunity to earn an NHL spot.
Pierre Engvall might move to the second line. However, he fits so well with David Kampf on the third line that it would be a loss defensively to make that move. At the moment, things seem solid enough with Kerfoot remaining on the team.
However, if he does leave, there would be several questions to answer.