Over a month ago, Adam detailed the theoretical possibility of the New York Rangers being interested in New Jersey Devils draft pick Alex Kerfoot. Kerfoot is a soon-to-be 23-year-old center who might fill a needed role for the Rangers as they walk toward the start of the season without any real idea of what’s going on at center.
As a quick scouting report on the player, here’s Adam’s take:
The Harvard graduate was respectable for his first three college seasons but really took off in his senior year. Captaining the team, he registered 16 goals and 29 assists in 36 games. He played an important role in Harvard’s first Beanpot Tournament win since 1993, as well as their first Frozen Four appearance since 1994. He was named one of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award (top NCAA player). As the numbers would indicate, he’s a skilled offensive center who skates well and has a knack for moving the puck and making plays in the offensive zone.
You can also find more information on him in this week’s episode of Bantering The Blueshirts where we discuss Adam’s final prospect rankings. (Which you should subscribe to, rate, and comment!) Adam also went on to say Kerfoot is “not on the level of Jimmy Vesey or Kevin Hayes, but will challenge for a roster spot immediately.” For a team that desperately needs options there, it might be a perfect fit.
Tomorrow (8/15) is technically his July 1st. As of tomorrow all interested NHL teams can reach out to him and try to sign him. All contracts will be exactly the same, and the only thing other teams can lobby for is non-monetary promises. For the Rangers, New York, Madison Square Garden, immediate NHL roles, and a chance to challenge for the Stanley Cup have been more than enough to pull the likes of Hayes and Vesey to Broadway. Will it work that way for Kerfoot? Time will tell.
As I spoke about on the podcast; these types of players should be on nearly every team’s radar. Prospects are lottery tickets to begin with -- the more you have, the more likely you’ll find a winner -- but true NCAA free agents are even more valuable because they’re “free.” There’s no draft pick choice to use on them, and regardless of how they pan out the only investment you’ve made is a cap hit (which is on par with an ELC anyway).
To be extraordinarily clear about something: There has been zero information surrounding Kerfoot and the Rangers. That’s not to say the team isn’t interested in him, but I’m simply drawing lines between the two as an easy fit.
With the team’s desperate need for center depth, a (hopefully) lack of desire to force Lias Andersson into a role that won’t help his development, and a need to continue to bolster the farm system, the two seem like an easy fit. The Rangers can promise a bottom six center role right away, can allow him to play on a very good team, and give him a chance to play in New York. I’m not sure a ton of other teams can match all those opportunities.
Also in the mix: He’s a Harvard player who was teammates with Jimmy Vesey. Staying in the East might be preferable, although Boston obviously gets a leg up if location is important because he’s already there.
Still, the Rangers might go hard after him. They need the help.
Tomorrow they get to make a play for him.