Alex Kerfoot will not be signing with his hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks, Daily Hive has learned.
The West Vancouver native just completed his senior season at Harvard University, where he tallied 45 points (16-29-45) in 36 games.
The 22-year-old centre was a fifth-round draft pick – 150th overall – in 2012 by the New Jersey Devils.
Players that stick out four years in the NCAA can become an unrestricted free agent if they’re unable to come to terms on an entry-level contract with the team that drafted them prior to the 15th of August following the conclusion of their collegiate career. Although Kerfoot could still sign in New Jersey, one would assume that a deal would’ve been reached by now.
TSN’s Darren Dreger, as well as Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman, reported months ago that the Canucks had interest in the Harvard captain.
Linking Kerfoot to the Canucks seemed like a natural fit. The team is in the process of a replenishment of youth and are in need of a boatload of young talent, especially when it comes at no cost.
Alex’s father, Greg Kerfoot, is a majority owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
But according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Kerfoot won’t be coming home. While playing in his hometown in front of friends and family appeared to be a persuasive bargaining chip in the Canucks favour, Kerfoot recognized that the team currently has a logjam of centres penciled ahead of him that would limit his chance of a prominent role with the team going forward.
The Canucks indulged into the free agent market on July 1st by signing Sam Gagner and Alexander Burmistrov. They were added to a mix of centres that already included Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Brendan Gaunce, and Michael Chaput.
Throw in prospects Elias Pettersson and Adam Gaudette into the fold, and it becomes apparent that there isn’t a ton of room for Kerfoot to blossom based on skillset and size, and the abundance of bottom-six forwards within the organization.
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, Kerfoot improved his numbers on a year-to-year basis and was named captain of Harvard following Jimmy Vesey’s departure following the 2015-16 season.
Vesey – who was teammates with Kerfoot at Harvard for three years – utilized the same option of signing away from his drafted team last summer when he signed with the New York Rangers. Mike Reilly (Minnesota) and Kevin Hayes (New York Rangers) previously ventured down the same path.
This past season, Kerfoot tied for the team lead in points and was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA.
He’s a skilled forward that’s crafty with the puck and has elite processing abilities with terrific vision. While his overall speed isn’t blistering, he slips around defenders with his elusive shiftiness. Kerfoot was the Crimson’s No. 1 centre since his sophomore season and his toolbox indicates he could be a middle-six contributor at the NHL level.
According to the sources, it’s unlikely that Kerfoot signs in New Jersey, and is reportedly eying a team Western Conference that will give him a quicker and better chance to play in a prominent role.
Kerfoot played for the North West Giants in the British Columbia Major Midget League before spending parts of three seasons with the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL.
The graduate of Hollyburn hockey program remains property of the Devils until August 15th.
Will Butcher, the reigning Hobey Baker winner, is another player to keep an eye for the Canucks as we inch closer to the mid-August deadline. The 22-year-old defenceman put up 37 points in his senior season at the University of Denver. Like Kerfoot, Butcher is eligible to sign anywhere he likes after August 15.