The Toronto Maple Leafs will be busy between now and the March 21 trade deadline as general manager Kyle Dubas looks for ways to get creative an upgrade his roster. There’s been a number of question marks with their defense, a story line that has basically carried over from training camp and throughout the entire season.
One player who could help the Maple Leafs land a solid defenseman is forward Alexander Kerfoot. He’s recently been demoted in the lineup and his contract is rich for a fourth-liner. Let’s take a look at three teams as potential destinations for a Kerfoot deal.
New Jersey Devils
The Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils have done business in the past as their latest deal included a salary dump of Andreas Johnsson for minor-leaguer Joey Anderson. It helped Toronto free up some cap space and this season the two teams could once again find themselves pulling the trigger on some business. Devils defensemen Damon Severson and PK Subban have both been linked to the Maple Leafs and if Dubas ends up prying Severson away from New Jersey, a proven NHL player like Kerfoot could be included in the package.
Kerfoot is making $3.5 million against the cap and is signed through the 2022-23 campaign. So far in 57 games he’s scored nine times and has recorded 39 points. It’s worth noting the 27-year-old only averages eight seconds on the power play each game and basically all of his points are recorded at even strength.
Given an opportunity elsewhere to enjoy some time with the man advantage could go a long way for the versatile forward to take his game to the next level. With the Devils having a young group up front and looking for some offensive support for the likes of Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, perhaps we see a deal before the deadline.
Another team to keep an eye on if Kerfoot ends up getting dealt is the Philadelphia Flyers. They have a number of players being discussed in moves which include some big names like Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Rasmus Ristolainen. In Ristolainen, the Maple Leafs would be acquiring a towering presence for their blue line who has 177 hits and 90 blocked shots. It’s no secret the team is trying to look for an upgrade over the likes of Travis Dermott and Justin Holl and the 6-foot-4 bruising defenseman could be the perfect replacement.
Kerfoot would likely be included in this deal due to the fact Ristolainen is making $5.4 million against the cap and the fact the Flyers are going to have a gaping hole down the middle of their lineup next season with the expected departure of Claude Giroux. The Maple Leafs forward has spent time on the wing this season but he’s also spent multiple seasons primarily at center. It’s tough for the cash strapped Leafs to have a $3.5 million fourth-liner on their roster as prospect Nick Robertson appears to be fitting in nicely on the team’s second line with John Tavares and William Nylander.
Newly minted general manager Pat Verbeek is steering the ship for the Anaheim Ducks as they create their strategy for the upcoming trade deadline. Verbeek has reportedly made it known to other teams he’s willing to listen on his defensemen and Hampus Lindholm should be a primary target for the Maple Leafs. The former sixth-overall pick of the Ducks is a native of Sweden and could be a great fit with fellow countrymen Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren on the Leafs blue line. Anaheim isn’t the deepest team up front and could easily insert Kerfoot into their top six for the rest of this season and next.
Lindholm is a defenseman the Leafs would benefit tremendously from acquiring as he’s versatile and able to play in all situations, experienced and is a great skater who can make the first pass. He’s a workhorse who is second on the Ducks in average ice-time and while he’s not overly physical or a rover-type offensive weapon, he’s a steady presence and would bring Toronto another TJ Brodie type who is as efficient as they come. If a deal gets completed between the Ducks and Maple Leafs, a couple of big time prospects along with Kerfoot could be going the other way as Lindholm makes $5.2 million against the cap.
With the emergence of Robertson and the dyer need to upgrade on defense, Kerfoot has become a prime trade candidate for the Maple Leafs. He recently played a season low 9:39 of ice-time and has seen his role become questioned on the team. We all saw last playoffs when Tavares went down how important he can be to Toronto and any deal including him better be for an impact player or else the trade could push the Maple Leafs in the wrong direction.
Shane covers any and everything to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs & Pittsburgh Penguins. A constant contributor to the THW family, his passion and unique perspective on the game results in some diverse content. Certainly versatile, you can also find him contributing at NHLTradeRumors.me, BaseballRumors.me & BBallRumors.com. Follow along on Twitter @ShugMcSween