Off-season Maple Leafs departures: Alex Kerfoot’s point per game month, Noel Acciari returns from injury

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
6 months ago
Another month in the 2023-24 NHL season has come and gone, and that means it’s time to check in on six former players who left the Toronto Maple Leafs organization this past off-season. From Michael Bunting to Alex Kerfoot to Luke Schenn, I go through six former Maple Leafs and how they’re doing with their new teams.

Michael Bunting – Carolina Hurricanes

December stats: 15 GP – 3 G – 7 A – 10 PTS
2023-24 stats: 36 GP – 8 G – 17 A – 25 PTS
Contract: 4 x $4.5M (M-NTC first two years)
It sucked to see Michael Bunting leave the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, but it was understandable, given the contract he was going to demand, as well as his occasional antics on the ice. The Scarborough native signed a big four-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes after putting together two productive seasons with his childhood team, scoring 112 points in 161 games with the Maple Leafs. Fast forward to this season with his new team, and the 28-year-old has continued to be productive. In 36 games with Carolina this season, Bunting has registered 25 points (eight goals and 17 assists), including a goal against his former club. His eighth goal on the season against Toronto a couple of nights ago capped off a productive December as he put up ten points in 15 games to improve his season totals to 25 points in 36 games.

Ryan O’Reilly – Nashville Predators

December stats: 15 GP – 4 G – 7 A – 11 PTS
2023-24 stats: 37 GP – 14 G – 16 A – 30 PTS
Contract: 4 x $4.5M
Ryan O’Reilly’s best season since the 2018-19 campaign continues after another solid month of production in December. The Clinton native left Toronto after playing just 24 games with the Maple Leafs in the regular season and playoffs to sign a big four-year deal with the Nashville Predators. Since he arrived in the Music City, O’Reilly has been incredibly productive as the team’s number one centre. Despite his age and the potential of slowing down, O’Reilly is currently on pace to have his second-best season points-wise after registering 11 more points in 15 games last month (four goals and seven assists). With another stellar month, the 32-year-old now has 30 points in 37 games, putting him on pace to finish this season with 66 points (31 goals and 35 assists).

Alex Kerfoot – Arizona Coyotes

December stats: 13 GP – 3 G – 10 A – 13 PTS
2023-24 stats: 35 GP – 4 G – 18 A – 22 PTS
Contract: 2 x $3.5M (M-NTC)
It was a love-hate relationship between Alex Kerfoot and Toronto Maple Leafs fans. But when the 29-year-old left in the off-season to sign a two-year deal with the rising Arizona Coyotes, some Toronto fans didn’t care that he moved on. Well, you might care now. After a struggling start to his tenure with Arizona in October and November, recording just nine points in 22 games, the Vancouver native had a hot December with his new club, scoring three goals and adding ten assists for 13 points in 13 games, improving his point totals to 22 in 35 games. This start through 35 games puts the former Maple Leaf on pace to finish the season with 52 points, which would narrowly pass his current career-high, which was set with Toronto in the 2021-22 season (51 points). Those 22 points would rank Kerfoot sixth in scoring on Toronto, one point ahead of Max Domi and five points back of Morgan Rielly.

Noel Acciari – Pittsburgh Penguins

December stats: 6 GP – 1 G – 0 A – 1 PTS
2023-24 stats: 28 GP – 3 G – 1 A – 4 PTS
Contract: 3 x $2M (M-NTC)
The former bottom-six checking forward for Toronto missed some time with an injury and recently returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on December 18th. Since his return, Noel Acciari has skated in six games but has still struggled to find his offensive touch from a season ago when he scored 14 goals and put up 23 points split between the St. Louis Blues and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Acciari’s four points in 28 games have him on pace to finish the 2023-24 campaign with just 11 points. That would be the lowest point total of his career since the 2021-22 season with the Florida Panthers. However, he only played in 20 games that season.

Luke Schenn – Nashville Predators

December stats: 14 GP – 0 G – 2 A – 2 PTS
2023-24 stats: 18 GP – 0 G – 2 A – 2 PTS
Contract: 3 x $2.75M
Luke Schenn missed a good chunk of the Nashville Predators games to begin the season after sustaining an injury in the first game. Since his return in late November, the former Maple Leaf has played in 17 games – 14 in December – and recorded his first two points of the season, with two assists coming against the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. As it’s well known, Schenn isn’t someone known for putting up points but rather known for being a physical player, as we saw in Toronto during his two stints with the organization. In 18 games this season, he has recorded 51 hits and 22 blocks, and continues to be that steady physical veteran presence on the blue line.

Justin Holl – Detroit Red Wings

December stats: 8 GP – 0 G – 1 A – 1 PTS
2023-24 stats: 25 GP – 0 G – 4 A – 4 PTS
Contract: 3 x $3.4M (M-NTC)
After playing in eight of Detroit’s first ten games of the season while recording three points in October, Justin Holl has since played in just 17 of the Red Wings’ next 26 games in November and December. The former Maple Leafs defender signed a pretty big three-year deal with Detroit in July, and given the price tag, Holl seemed destined to be an everyday player. However, Detroit has seven everyday NHL players on their current roster, and with 2021 1st-rounder Simon Edvinsson waiting for his opportunity, Holl has been in and out of the lineup. In just eight games in December, the 31-year-old registered one assist, which came against the Philadelphia Flyers.
(Stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
(Contract details from PuckPedia.com)

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