The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers and 320 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2018 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
When a player is confident enough to spurn the team that drafted him for a better opportunity for ice time elsewhere, he had better make good on that gamble. Ending up 5th on the Avs in points, its safe to say Kerfoot was right in thinking he deserved a guaranteed NHL chance.
A new face in the Colorado organization but a familiar one for Devils fans, Kerfoot (a 5th-round-pick back in 2012) came to the team after 4 years at Harvard university - which takes more than on-ice talent to accomplish. He was a point-per-game guy for 3 of those seasons, so it was more-or-less expected that he would be a useful pro upon graduation. When he chose Colorado over several other suitors, it was clear that Kerfoot wanted NHL ice time more than anything else, and we saw why his confidence was warranted. When he has control off the puck in the offensive zone, he can be a magician. He patrols the perimeter like Mat Barzal, and his ability to pass pucks through traffic is severely underrated. These are top-level skills he has already, so it’s no surprise that he was effective on the powerplay, where he put up 40% of his points.
There are many things that make Kerfoot an outstanding player with high offensive potential. But there are also some warning signs he needs to work out going forward. His shooting percentage in 2017-18 was ridiculously high (23%) due to a lack of SOG. To be fair - his 5on5 shooting% is actually reasonable, and his overall % is being boosted by the fantastic powerplay. But even the elite passers in the NHL need to put a respectable number of shots on net to be a real threat, so growing his 81 to something in the mid-100s would go a long way to avoiding serious point regression in the future. In addition, he needs to be more reliable at even strength. He only averaged 13:27 TOI per game, and that’s including 2:29 average powerplay minutes. Part of the reason that’s the case is because when the puck isn’t on his stick, he can go full games without being noticed. It’s hard to be a significant role-player up front without being able to handle more minutes, so Kerfoot needs to make himself useful enough without the puck to earn more minutes.
He just turned 24 years old, so this will be his last appearance in any 25U25 columns.
That said, he’s still considered part of the youth movement that made such a big difference for the Avs in 2017-18. We know what he can provide already, and now hopefully we see the start of some development into a pro who can be one the ice more often, and look dangerous more often.