Is Kerfoot The Answer?
The summer of 2017 will be remembered as one of massive change for the Rangers and their fans. The buyout of Dan Girardi, the trade of Derek Stepan and Anti Raanta, the loss of Oscar Lindberg in the expansion draft were some of the biggest moves. There were additions. Anthony DeAngelo came via trade, while the Blueshirts signed free agents Kevin Shattenkirk, David Desharnais, and Ondrej Pavelec. But, there is still a gaping hole in the middle. They are short one center, and really lack depth at that position more than any other, organizationally. And that is surely a factor in why the Rangers selected 2 centers in the first round of the draft.
While we discussed this back in July, we wanted to give an updated opinion, and share more of our thoughts about this after letting the dust settle during a busy offseason for the Rangers.
Back to the Harvard Well?
On August 15 Harvard center Alexander Kerfoot will be a free agent, and eligible to sign with any team. Kerfoot was drafted in the 5th round of 2012 draft by the New Jersey Devils, and never signed with them. So much like Jimmy Vesey, and Kevin Hayes, Kerfoot will be courted by several teams, before signing with the one he feels is the best fit. Now, on the surface the Rangers could be a great match. He is reunited with former linemate Vesey, and would join a team he has a great chance at being able to play for right out of college. He will be 23 next week, and has great skill and on ice vision.
At his age, the Vancouver native, does not want to spend a protracted amount of time in the minor leagues. So a good team with an opening at his position makes sense for him career-wise. Having Jimmy Vesey on the team already, is a huge ladle of gravy. The one thing that may dissuade him is the aforementioned two 2017 first round picks the Rangers drafted. Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil will, in all likelihood, create a bit of a logjam, in the coming years. Chytil is almost definitely ticketed for the OHL. Andersson has a chance to make the team this year, but has an even greater chance to make it next year.
It fits for the Rangers because of the position of need, but as importantly, he would sign an entry level contract and play for 925,000. Does management think he has upside, and could compete at the NHL level quickly? Trying to judge players that excel in the ECAC is difficult. They aren’t playing against the best competition, and play very short seasons. Even with a surplus of defensemen and wings, New York has not traded for a needed center yet. So, being that they have traveled down this road with Hayes and Vesey, it would be logical to speculate that this is a possibility.
In the End
While there has been plenty of rumors that Kerfoot longs to sign with his home town Canucks, this may be unfounded. First of all, the Canucks are actually deep at the center position. Secondly, remember, Hayes and Vesey were supposedly earmarked for their home town Boston Bruins. That didn’t happen. IF the Rangers are high on him, I would be surprised if they didn’t sign him. Kerfoot does not have nearly the buzz Vesey did. He isn’t even the most coveted unsigned draft pick that will be available on 8/15. Hobey Baker award winner Will Butcher, a defenseman, will be very well sought after. In the next week to 10 days, Alexander Kerfoot will have his new home. Might it be on Broadway?