Toronto Maple Leafs: When Is Alex Kerfoot Getting Traded?

TORONTO, ON - MAY 27: Alexander Kerfoot #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs heads up ice with the puck against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on May 27, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 27: Alexander Kerfoot #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs heads up ice with the puck against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on May 27, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The biggest elephant in the room right now is whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to trade Alex Kerfoot.

Alex Kerfoot is a very serviceable third-line centre but at $3.5M per season for the next two years, and following the acquisition of David Kampf,  the Toronto Maple Leafs need to trade Kerfoot, right?

When Kerfoot got traded to Toronto in the Nazem Kadri deal, many fans were excited. Kadri had gotten suspended in back-to-back playoff runs and was a huge disrupter on the team’s potential playoff success. If he had stayed in the lineup, it’s quite possible that they would have beaten the Boston Bruins and advanced past the First Round for the first time since 2004.

Then after Kadri left, fans ran back to him like an ex-girlfriend and forgot all of the trouble he had caused. There was tunnel-vision with Kadri and many revolted that the team traded him for Kerfoot.

Kerfoot is not the same player as Kadri and nobody should expect that. He’s a reliable third-line centre who can score, help out on the PK and be defensively responsible. He’s a player that every team in the NHL would want, but at $3.5M it’s time to move on.

When Are the Toronto Maple Leafs Trading Kerfoot?

When the Leafs signed David Kampf this offseason, it essentially meant the end to Kerfoot’s career in Toronto. At $1.5M per season, the Leafs can save $2M per year by playing Kampf over Kerfoot.

The idea of Kerfoot playing in the top-six made a little sense, but now that Nick Ritchie, Nick Robertson and Michael Bunting are all here vying for top-six left-winger spots, Kerfoot doesn’t fit the picture; especially at his price-tag. (And that doesn’t even include the talented Josh Ho-Sang and Ondrej Kase vying for roles).

Kampf or Pierre Engvall can easily slide into the third-line centre position and the Leafs will be fine. They also have Adam Brooks to centre the fourth-line spot, so it leaves Kerfoot in limbo. The team needs to trade him before the regular season starts, but what type of package would they even get for him?

After he was the main package in the Kadri deal, it would be disappointing to only receive draft picks for him, but at the same time, cap-space is king in today’s NHL so it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

If I’m Toronto right now, I’d trade Kerfoot for either draft picks or prospects and use that cap-space as they get closer to the NHL Trade Deadline. They should use the first few months of the season to evaluate and if they think they can take a run at the Stanley Cup, use that cap-space to acquire a pending UFA and roll the dice from there.

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Either way, I don’t expect Kerfoot to be a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs for much longer.