Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Kerfoot Is the Odd Man Out
Alexander Kerfoot was acquired in the 2020 offseason alongside Tyson Barrie in exchange for longtime Toronto Maple Leafs forward, Nazem Kadri.
Though the trade was never popular, Alex Kerfoot has become a “swiss army knife” for the Toronto Maple Leafs and last season he scored 51 points without any power-play time (41 5v5 points).
Fast forward to today, November of the 2022-23 Leafs season. Kerfoot’s play has been solid, and I would say better than other forwards in the depth charts, but he isn’t producing any offense.
Kerfoot currently has a 51% Corsi, the Leafs are winning his minutes 11-8 (57%), but his one goal and six points are disappointing. He was scoring 2.45 points per 60 minutes last year, and this year he’d down to 1.31.
Alex Kerfoot’s Future with the Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have a top team and that means spending to the salary cap.
Their team is solid, and with Muzzin out they have some cap space. If, however, they wanted to add a big piece to their team – something that would make a big difference – they will need some more space. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Kerfoot makes $3.5 million AAV on an expiring contract, he’s a very good rental for a contender or can be a fantastic middle-six option for a rising team. It won’t be hard to move him, and his cap space, combined with Muzzin’s would allow the Leafs to do pretty much whatever they wanted.
Why Move On?
Simple, where does he play in the current lineup?
Kerfoot currently holds down the second lw spot on the Tavares/Marner line, but it’s increasingly obvious that the Leafs could use more offense in this spot. If not Robertson, it’s an obvious spot to upgrade the lineup.
Nearing the deadline the Leafs should have a secret weapon coming up through the ranks; Matthew Knies. This is a player that fans have been begging for, Knies is a power forward with a scoring touch; something missing from this Leaf lineup for years (because they are a rarity outside or the Tkachuk family).
When Knies is ready to go who do you bump down? Even if he doesn’t arrive this year, the Leafs need someone, and Kerfoot doesn’t work lower in the lineup because of his $3.5 million salary.
The only option is to move on from the guy. Where he ends up and what we get in return to me is up in the air. However, if I was in Dubas’s shoes I would look to get a good bottom-pair right shot defensemen or some much needed cap space to use on our expiring contracts in the offseason.
Kerfoot has been – for over a year now – the obvious player the Leafs can move for cap space to upgrade their team. He just fits in that no-mans land between replacement player and star. He’s OK, but he doesn’t really have any upside.