Irresponsible Rumormongering

Brooks: Rangers a finalist for Alex Kerfoot

alex kerfoot

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are among the final three teams for Hobey Baker finalist Alex Kerfoot. Kerfoot was originally a fifth round draft pick of the Devils in 2012, and opted to go the free agency route over signing across the Hudson. Kerfoot is a center, a position of dire need for the Rangers, and the 23-year-old seems to have the quickness and skill that might make him a viable asset for the club.

The Harvard graduate put up steadily increasing numbers –around 30 points– with the Crimson before exploding for 16 goals and 45 points in his senior year. The assist totals remained somewhat consistent throughout his four years, and it was just his goal total that doubled in his final season.

Kerfoot would be another name in the fold for a potential roster spot, as the 5’10”, 175 lb center would likely be competing with Lias Andersson, David Desharnais, and potentially Boo Nieves and Adam Tambellini for the 3C spot. Either way, his addition would certainly help bolster the center depth, which is sorely needed.

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  • I know he is a center, but unless he is a depth choice, do we really need another 3C or 4C? I keep hearing these guys want NHL spots guaranteed. At 5′ 10″, and knowing what Vesey brought, do we want to hand him the 4C?

    I know it is only money, and if you want Anderson to ripen in the AHL for 6 months, then do it, but I am not sure Kerfoot is the guy to step in.

    • Why not add another 3C or 4C to the system? He’s only 23 years old, he could develop into a solid 40 point per year player. Plus we don’t have a clear cut 3C by any means. Also I expect to lose one of Hayes or Miller next year because we won’t be able to afford both, especially if they both improve this year. Never a bad thing to have prospects.

      • Why? Because we need a 1C or a 2C. This team has a small window (read Hank’s window) to do something and if you add some top NHL talent to the top line, we may actually have a chance. Adding quantity to the bottom 6 won’t get it done. We rolled 4 quality lines. The playoffs show that you need stars and studs, not role players.

          • I’d be willing to do JT, Graves, Gropp and a second.
            Mackinnon has ridiculous skill, everyone would see that if he wasn’t on such an awful team.

          • JT, Graves, Gropp, AND a 2nd for MacKinnon? For a guy whose seasonal numbers have been better than Derek Stepan’s once in his career? That’s an extremely generous offer, bordering on madness.

          • Mackinnon would easily put up over 70 points in this lineup. Dude has no help on the Avs. Not to mention the rangers are built to utilize speed and Mackinnon has serious wheels.

          • Giving up 3 players for MacKinnon plus a pick is insane. Not to mention the fact that JT Miller outproduced him last year. To assume somebody who’s never broken 70 points in a full season will suddenly do so in this NYR lineup is a pretty big reach.

          • I don’t think Sakic would even consider that offer w/o the obligatory 1st round pick tossed in.

            Even then they still wouldn’t do it.

            Gropp and Graves are not the kind of prospects that would get it done.

            Not that say that it’s necessarily a bad offer – It’s just a bad idea overall…

            Look at what that guy wants for Duchene – we would have to dramatically overpay for the kid relative to his on ice value.

        • There is no window. There is a window when you are on the verge of losing a handful of key players to age or free agency. Lundqvist is just one guy. You don’t need a great tender to win a Cup (Niemi) and a great tender doesn’t guarantee one.

          And we can certainly hope that Shesterkin will be a good replacement.

    • Assuming he chooses us, then absolutely they should pick him up, it’s a small risk/big reward play, a lot like when they got Vesey.

  • Andersson is bigger than this guy and is still filling out since he is almost 5 years younger. Kerfoot might be a nice addition but I am unsure where he projects in the NHL.

  • Hey Dave I think it was very interesting to leave out Hayes, Mika, JT and Vesey from your Game of Thrones edition but instead you rather mention people who aren’t NYR’s and Sather for it. Haha I’m guessing you didn’t like Hayes tribune when he was naming who is closets to what characters on the team. I just thought it was kind of obviously especially since those guys were talking about how they enjoy getting together to watch it all last season. Stepan is definitely that coward from the show, he even looks like him and JT is the Hound.

  • This is so mind boggling that ANOTHER free agent rookie is considering the Rangers since they have to worst coach in the league when it comes to youngsters.

    • AV put rat poison in rookies Gatorade. It is known. On the other hand it is also known we may have some openings at Center, so what’s a little rat poison between friends?

    • “This is so mind boggling”

      …. What’s so ‘mind boggling’ about players wanting to play in New York?

      You (or I) could be the coach & these kids would still consider signing here…

      • AWDS…..sorry, but no way. The point Spozo and wwpd are making is that AV’s reputation of being bad with young players once again takes another hit, as yet another young player makes the Rangers a finalist.

        If AV were really a detriment, no young player (and no agent BTW) would ever risk their developmental years to a coach who is so bad for them. You have a bad coach who won’t play you and allow you to develop, how exactly are you supposed to cash in when that time comes?

        To add to that, it was apparently the “abused and mistreated” Kevin Hayes who recommended to Vesey he come here. I suspect that if Kerfoot comes, it will be because of Vesey.

        • To Eddie & Mancunian…. I caught the sarcasm in his post.

          I just don’t agree with Spozo that players signing with us necessarily means AV ‘did a good job’ with rookies in the past, nor do I see how it improves AV’s tepid reputation in this matter.

          When it comes to making these decisions, I think it’s infinitely more about where the Rangers play (and the amount of talent on the team) than who their current coach is and whether or not he’ll ‘lose them’ on the bench.

          • If that’s the case why aren’t stars lining up to play for the Knicks? Cuz the organization stinks!!!!

          • Exactly Spozo. Same for the Yankees in the mid-late 80’s/early 90’s when George had gone off the rails. Or the Mets pre-Bobby Valentine.

            Playing in NY is great, but ultimately, players are only going to sign here if they think they have a chance to win AND have the best chance to develop and earn a big contract down the road. No young player is going to play for a coach who is “anti-kid”.

          • That’s where the ‘amount of talent’ part comes in (and, let’s face it, the Dolan factor).

            Everyone knows the Knicks are a mess, and that it’s mostly the owner’s fault because he won’t stop intervening.

            I don’t watch basketball & even I know that.

            Also, one thing I think you’re not considering is the relative anonymity hockey players have in New York (compared to basketball players).

          • Well first of all, his “tepid reputation” when it comes to young players exists primarily if not exclusively in the blogosphere. There is no actual reporting that I am aware of, or any inkling, that he actually has this reputation within NHL circles. The young players he wouldn’t play in Vancouver and NY turned out to be not very good in most cases. Certainly in NY, name one young player he refused to play that went elsewhere and became something. I can’t think of one.

            Secondly, this is arguably the biggest decision of a young player’s career. Playing in NY is great, and sure, it can be a tiebreaker I suppose when a final decision is to be made. But again, NO player is going to jeopardize his formative years by playing for a coach who is adverse to playing young players. Millions of dollars in earning potential is at stake for these guys and they are not coming to NY if they think they aren’t going to get a fair shake. Sorry, that’s just illogical.

          • Talented people are arrogant. AV may or may not have a reputation for handling borderline prospects. “But I’m not a borderline prospect. Any coach who is not an idiot is going to play me.” End of story.

          • Eddie, AV would have to be far, far worse than what he is (given the talent the Rangers have & where they play) to actively drive off potential free agents… And as Ray alluded to below, being young and talented often coincides with a healthy dose of arrogance.

            That being said, winning (or playing, even) in New York is NOT the same as, for example, a place like Calgary. With all due respect to the smaller clubs, they don’t bring the international attention and marketing opportunities that come with being a Ranger.

          • AV played three rookies on a regular basis last season: Skjei, Vesey and Buchnevich. I cannot take the ‘AV is bad with kids’ stuff seriously.

          • He’s not bad with them…. he’s just not good, either.

            AV has made quite a few ‘interesting’ decisions regarding rookies in his tenure.

            Last year alone… from sitting Buchnevich & Puempel (for Glass, lol), to playing Staal/Holden over Skjei …. it’s not unfair to say that he has made his share of head-scratching decisions.

            Now, is he (significantly) worse than other coaches in this regard? No, not really.

          • When he plays 3 rookies the whole season and during the playoffs, pointing to sitting one of them occasionally as reason to criticize his handling of them is kind of head scratching too. Sure, like most coaches he might resort to a veteran in some situations, but the narrative that done of our fellow fans create that he is somehow unfair in his handling of young players just does not hold water in view of his consistent use of his rookies last season.

        • There are a ton of reasons any free agent would want to play in NY other than the coach, especially when the money is the same everywhere for these young free agents who are spurning the team that drafted them. I still cease to understand how you seem to relish tossing those out the window when this comes up, E3.

          To the point of the coach alone – AV is a player’s coach, which is widely known around the league. Guys like playing for him. He isn’t a jerk. He doesn’t ride players. He doesn’t freak out and verbally abuse them. He might be a little liberal with his benchings at times and depending on if he likes the player’s attitude or not and he cops it out as a skill issue (ex: “inefficient touches”), but so are plenty of coaches who are far more stern. Which boss do you want to work for if you could choose, among several who have been proven to be successful to the same relative level: those on the gruff/hothead end of the spectrum, or those known to be more cool-headed and easy to work with?

          Simply put, a lot of young players have never hit their projected ceiling under AV. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say “mistreating”, “ruining”, “abusing” or anything else in that realm – not with the recent batch of younger guys, anyways. However, being a coach who players like playing for is not synonymous with being a coach who is above average at developing young talent. He’s had a fair number of young players who were supposed to be very-good-to-great end up just okay.

          The biggest problem I have is that AV over-emphasizes how much value being a veteran has on the ice in relation to the result on the scoreboard. I feel this slows the younger players’ growth curves. Not ruins them – slows them. Maybe stumps their peak a little as well. He’s at times more comfortable with older guys he knows better but who clearly don’t have high end skill than he is with younger guys who possess far more talent. This is not universal; every now and then he has a Jesper Fast moment where for whatever reason he seems to trust an unknown younger player from day one.

          Glass should have never appeared in the NHL last season over a bevy of better younger options. Staal should not have been on the ice in lieu of Skjei in key moments. Adam Clendening should have been given a much longer look and several more chances than he was while Klein and Girardi clearly were a burden on the right side. Etc. That’s just a few of the more glaring examples from last season. I actually think he has gotten a little better in this area since, say, the un-called-for Miller situation a few years back.

          Would these free agent kids be entertaining the idea of flocking to Arizona if AV was the coach? Pretty sure they wouldn’t. I believe that the sheer allure and bright lights of NYC, the idea of playing with friends from youth college/hockey, being close to home for many of these guys from the northeast, and the reputation of the Rangers organization (the aura of an original six team, top notch facilities and training staffs, taking care of players in general when life throws curveballs, the fact that despite some sizable misfires the front office has still built a playoff team/contender nonetheless for the better part of a decade, etc.) are all HUGE attractants for younger players.

          I also suspect if Kerfoot signs, like Vesey, it will be largely due to Hayes. That you use this as evidence that AV is good at developing young talent, however, confuses the hell out of me, respectfully.

          • Eg-

            I disagree. And further, you and others are distorting what I am saying. So perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. If so, let me clarify.

            For the two years I’ve been on this blog, I’ve had heard one overarching theme–AV “HATES” the kids. He has it in for Miller, for Hayes, for McIlrath. On and on. But over the last few years, with young FAs coming to the Rangers when they have other choices, clearly that narrative is now officially blown out of the water. If it was actually true that AV “hates” playing kids, no chance these young FA choose the Rangers. Yes, there are other considerations beyond the coach, but I go back to my original point–no player would choose to go to play for a coach that does not give them the best chance to cash in when the time comes. Sorry, there’s is no chance that if AV “hated” kids, didn’t trust kids, wouldn’t play kids, etc., that a player would risk the chance to make millions once they became UFAs.

            Please go back through my comments above and show me where I said AV was great or even good with developing young talent? I never used those words. I simply believe that AV is no different really than most NHL coaches in that regard–and therefore does not deserve the criticism he gets on that issue.

            Most coaches give preferential treatment to veterans. It’s very normal. Out here, there are some who think this is some egregious “AV thing”, when in fact virtually every coach I’ve ever known or ever covered for the most part would be more partial to veteran players over untested rookies. Especially when your job description is to win games and make the playoffs. So unless the team is in total rebuild and wins and losses don’t matter much, I think 90% of coaches will lean more on veterans they trust–unless the young player in question is really a special player.

            Now, that being said, I do think AV is good with young players. Look at the year Skjei just had. When he came on board in 2013-14, Kreider, (who Torts had little use for), got to play regularly and has improved every year. Has AV EVER benched Kreider since he got into the lineup full time midway through the 2013-14 season? Even though there were certainly times when he could have been benched?

            Zuc was another player that Torts had little use for. He has thrived under AV. McDonagh had his finest NHL season under AV.

            Hayes had a terrific rookie season under AV, who AV gave a long leash to and plenty of responsibility on a team with Cup aspirations. And I will point out that despite coming to his second season out of shape and having a sub-par season, AV mostly stuck with him until the playoffs. Indeed, he opted to move Eric Staal and keep Hayes at center, when one could make the case he should have moved Staal and either switched up with Hayes or sat him altogether. AV loves Hayes…a lot more than I do that’s for sure.

            Now, let’s look at some of the examples you mentioned above where AV allegedly did not succeed as well as he should have with some young players, or played a player you believe he shouldn’t have played.

            Glass was called up for one reason and one reason alone the last two seasons–there were injuries. He was inserted into some games. He was reasonably effective. He was not this train wreck player that everyone makes him out to be. It’s just not accurate IMO.

            You mention the better younger options last year. Who? Buch was coming off a serious back injury that kept him out for a lengthy stretch. When he returned to the lineup, he was a shadow of the player he was prior to the injury. There’s no question who has more upside between the two, but it became more and more evident that in the Spring of 2017, Buch was a marginal option at best. No different than Glass.

            The end result of that decision I’d say was mostly succesful. Just as he did with Carcillo in 2014, AV trusted his gut and went with the player he thought was right for that particular moment. Glass was instrumental in the Game 1 victory. We likely don’t win if he’s not in the lineup. You can make the case that instead of being down 2-1 in that series, we would have been down 3-0. If AV has such a bias towards Glass, then why was he so willing to put Buch in there when he needed a change of pace in Game 4?

            Coaching in hockey is not just about looking at fancy stat spreadsheets. As Joe Torre once said about baseball, “never forget this game has a heartbeat”. If that applies to an individual team sport like baseball, it most assuredly applies to the ultimate team sport in hockey, where chemistry is everything and advanced stats are still very much a work in progress in terms of really determining which team has the best chance to win. Glass playing or not playing was largely irrelevant to the ultimate outcome. Hopefully, with some NHL seasoning now and better conditioning, Buch will be a mainstay going forward.

            Staal vs Skjei–This is not basketball. It’s not football. You can’t easily determine who is going to be on the ice at every segment of a game. And, I suspect the reason this happened was more because of Beukeboom then it was because of AV. Thus, the reason Beuke was re-assigned. Does AV bear some responsibility? Of course, he’s the HC. But he tried every combination under the sun vs Ottawa, they all failed in the clutch. Typical of the good but not good enough talent we have.

            And in the deciding Game 6, our newest darlings Skjei and Smith were terrible. Just sayin.

            Clendening…ahhh, our latest obsession. McIlrath the prior year, Clendening the past year. This is a guy who’s playing for what now, his 7th organization entering his 4th season? That’s the guy who would have been an upgrade? Meanwhile, Girardi gets a huge FA deal from one of the oust respected organizations in hockey, and Clendo gets what one would expect, another sub-$1 million deal that screams 7D once again.

            This is what we do here. We totally overrate our subs, assume they will be far better options, demand that the coach prove it to us like we are in a jury box or something, and then the league weighs in and validates that AV’s thinking is TOTALLY in line with what many organizations already believe is the case.

            Look, Clendo (and even McIlrath I suppose) may yet prove they are worthy of a bigger role. But AV’s judgment on both of these players has been right in line with the league’s perspective to this point.

            As for the “uncalled for” Miller situation, please elaborate? We have lots of made up nonsense out there about how much AV hates Miller. Been hearing those exact words for two year now. Here’s the reality. Go back to the reporting on Tort’s firing. In addition to the concern about his dislike of Kreider, it was also reported that he wasn’t particularly enamored with Miller either. Miller didn’t get much of a look in AV’s first year except when there were injuries. I remember watching him play that year–he was a defensive NIGHTMARE. He was not ready…period. The following year, AV played him more, but he still was a defensive train wreck and turnover machine. Everyone out here said to play the kid anyway! Then the truth came out. Dan Rosen reported that summer that Miller’s work ethic was seriously in question. This was then CONFIRMED later that next season (2015-16) when Dave Maloney in a Rangers post-game following a game when Miller played well, said, and I’m paraphrasing, “The Rangers were starting to wonder whether JT even WANTED to be an NHL player”. Wow! Pretty damning statement from a highly respected former NHL player.

            But by this point, AV gave Miller a longer leash. And this past year, foibles and all, Miller is largely fully trusted by AV. To me, he is handling Miller in much the same way as he handled the Sedins. Tough love coaching to get the most out of potential star players.

            This is what Henrik Sedin said about AV after their 2013 season came to an end sooner than hoped–

            “AV has been nothing but great for this team,” Henrik continued. “So if they want to go in a different direction, that’s up to them. I think our core players have really grown up here and have become better as the years went on. AV has helped us grow as players and, I think, as leaders as well. So I have nothing but good things to say. He’s had our attention from Day One until the last game. That’s never been a problem. He’s been nothing but good to us.”

            Every bit of reporting suggests Miller would say much the same thing if asked something similar. We already know how much Hayes respects AV for holding him accountable–Hayes was emphatic about that in his Players Tribune article last Spring.

            So again, I am NOT, nor have I ever said, that AV is the primary reason young FAs choose to come to NY. That would be ridiculous. What is obvious though is that AV is part of what is a very attractive package about coming to play for the Rangers. And again, NO player is going to choose to entrust their formative years to a sub-standard coach who doesnt give young players a fair shake when they have other options.

  • I believe Josh has been beating the kerfoot drum for some time now. I’d be interested to see his take, I’ve heard mixed reviews about Alex’s NHL Talent level

  • Here’s hoping we get him. He may not be the complete answer, but the more assets you accumulate for essentially nothing more than offering a contract, the more options you have to trade for a 1/2 center. Who knows what the guy can bring, but I am in on finding out. And with our current center depth if he wants to sign with us it’s a no brainer.

    • I couldn’t agree more. With the pitiful state of the Pack, someone like Kerfoot can’t hurt. Even if he is small.

      • it’s possible …but maybe he pushes everyone to work harder vying for a spot on the team as well. But too early to tell. I also suspect Gorton has been waiting to see how this situation plays out before he tries to make any moves. And that is prudent. His Entry level cap hit is also a big plus.

  • So if Brooks was wrong about Kerfoot making a decision on Tuesday is it also fair to assume he was wrong that the Rangers were among the 2-3 finalists for him?

    • brooks writes that it was confirmed by Kerfoot’s agent. that would be a huge leap of inaccuracy for any journalist – even brooks!

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