August 23, 2017
Nathan Caddell, Georgia Straight
College free agents often have to base their decision on where they might be able to get playing time, as they typically become available on August 15, after most teams have made their player personnel decisions. Teams of course will do their best to encourage players to come to their city with promises of playing time, as salary is not a huge selling point (the league maximum for entry level contracts applies).
When Justin Schultz was a coveted free agent from college a few years ago, this approach worked, as the Edmonton Oilers were successful in convincing Schultz that joining a young team would be good for his development, even though the Oilers were terrible at the time.
It looks as if a similar approach worked on North Vancouver-raised Alex Kerfoot (8.11.94), as the Harvard star turned down reported offers from the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and, yes, Vancouver Canucks, to sign with the only team worse than Vancouver last year, Colorado.
This move could have implications for the future, as the Avs have long been rumoured to be looking for a trading partner for centre Matt Duchene. It’s possible that the team tantalized Kerfoot with an opening at centre in the top nine. It also can’t be forgotten that Avalanche GM Joe Sakic was raised a short drive away from Kerfoot in Burnaby, B.C. His status as a B.C. sports legend may have had extra sway with the young forward.
As for the Canucks, losing out on a player who grew up in your backyard is never easy, but it’s understandable in Kerfoot’s case, as the Canucks centre depth for this season and beyond made it unlikely that Vancouver would be able to offer Kerfoot a roster spot right out of the gate. Still, it’ll be hard for Canucks fans if Kerfoot develops into a star for the Canucks’ former Northwest Division rivals.
Kerfoot was a Top 10 Hobey Baker Finalist last season, producing 16-29-45 points in 36 games.
He was a Hollyburn MHA product before moving to the BCMML Vancouver NW Giants for two seasons 2009-2011 (43-86-129 in 64 GP). After two years with the BCHL Coquitlam Express (35-55-88 in 72 GP), Kerfoot joined Harvard in 2013-2014 finishing with 36-87-123, in 121 GP.