Toronto Maple Leafs: Perfect Time to Trade Alex Kerfoot

May 4, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot (15) scores on Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the third period of game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot (15) scores on Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the third period of game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Right now is the perfect time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to start seeking a trade return for versatile forward Alex Kerfoot.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are as ever up against it in terms of the salary cap, with Alex Kerfoot and his $3.5 million cap hit right up there as the ideal deal to put on the market.

Likewise, with Kerfoot coming off his best season yet in the NHL, there will surely be teams keen to add him to their rosters.

There’s hardly a team in the league that isn’t going to be interested in a middle-six winger or center that has a decent turn of speed and has spent recent years utilized as a key part of the Toronto Maple Leafs penalty-kill.

Toronto Maple Leafs Must Seek Value for Alex Kerfoot

Perhaps the only reason that the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be able to get a deal done for Alex Kerfoot is the fact that for the very first time in his career, he has a modified no-trade clause, meaning he can list 10 teams to avoid.

Given his contract structure would be of huge appeal to some basement dwellers, with a base salary of just $750,000 (per CapFriendly) – this will limit the Leafs potential trade partners, for sure.

Kerfoot topped the 50-point mark (with 51 points) for the first time in his career this season, though only 13 of those were goals. His value isn’t in scoring goals.

In a lot of ways, the Toronto Maple Leafs have already made deals similar to what we might expect from an Alex Kerfoot trade.

Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen were both on similar contracts to Kerfoot; Johnsson was signed at $3.4 million while Kapanen was signed at $3.2 million.

Both offered value to the team on special teams but ultimately were inked to deals too rich for the middle of the line-up, much like Kerfoot though neither had the same track record of routinely being above the 40-point mark or the positional versatility.

When you look to the trades that took them to New Jersey and Pittsburgh respectively, you’re not getting a fantastic return.

Johnsson returned Joey Anderson, who looks to be on the cusp of a bottom-six role next year. The key remaining piece in the Kapanen deal was the 15th overall pick (used to pick Rodion Amirov).

Taking advantage of a 51-point season, the Toronto Maple Leafs need to move on from Alex Kerfoot if only to ensure they can bring back the likes of Jack Campbell, Pierre Engvall and Mark Giordano.

Alex Kerfoot isn’t really on an over-inflated contract when you look to the fact that he was the seventh highest point scorer on the Leafs roster this season. In fact, among the names above him on that list, only Michael Bunting on his bargain deal was cheaper.

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As much as it’d be great to keep him around, he has to be moved on this summer. Such is the challenge of a salary cap dominated by five core contracts.