Alex Kerfoot might be the odd man out after Toronto’s latest acquisitions
Photo credit:Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis21 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are going for it.
A week and a half after acquiring Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues, general manager Kyle Dubas pulled the trigger on another major trade, sending two players and two draft picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe…
We’ll have analysis of the trade and what the Leafs are getting in both Lafferty and McCabe throughout the day but I’m going to focus on the salary cap implications in this article.
Neither McCabe nor Lafferty are rentals. Lafferty is in the first season of a two-year contract worth $1.15 million annually and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2023-24 season. McCabe is in the second season of a four-year deal worth $4 million annually but the Blackhawks are retaining 50 percent of his salary so he’ll cost the Leafs $2 million against the salary cap for two more seasons after this one.
With Lafferty and McCabe on the team, the Leafs have $2.85 million in salary cap room with a full 23-man roster. That isn’t an issue at this moment but something is going to have to budge when the team activates Matt Murray from the Long-Term Injured Reserve.
Murray has been on the shelf for one month because of an ankle injury but he’s expected to be ready to return to play this week. As much as fans might want to see the Leafs pull a Nikita Kucherov and keep Murray on the LTIR until the playoffs start and the salary cap isn’t a thing, that isn’t going to happen.
Given Murray’s $4,687,500 cap hit, the Leafs will need to shed $1.8 million from their roster in order to remain cap compliant when he’s back. Demoting Conor Timmins and/or Zach Aston-Reese won’t be enough to make things work as they have cap hits of $850k and $840k respectively so the Leafs are likely going to have to make another trade.
So, who might be the odd man out?
The name that makes the most sense is Alex Kerfoot. He was shoved down the team’s depth chart to the fourth line following the addition of O’Reilly and Acciari and might not have a guaranteed spot in the lineup now that Lafferty is in the mix.
Kerfoot has a cap hit of $3.5 million and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season so it wouldn’t be a significant ask for another team to take on his contract. Frank Seravalli noted that there’s “been some smoke recently” with Kerfoot and the Vancouver Canucks so that’ll be something to watch for ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.
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