After three straight first-round post-season exits — the last two coming via Game 7 losses vs. the Boston Bruins — the Toronto Maple Leafs opted for a fairly significant roster shake-up when July 1 hit.
And while the Maple Leafs faithful were likely shocked to see No. 43 shipped out of town, one of the club’s marquee acquisitions was just as surprised by the blockbuster move.
“It was mixed feelings for sure — I was definitely caught off guard by it,” Kerfoot told Sportsnet 590’s Prime Time Sports on Wednesday. “I imagine different people go through different emotions when they get traded and to different degrees people are expecting it. But I hadn’t heard many rumours at all, wasn’t expecting anything. And I think also, the fact that it happened in the middle of the summer, you’re not necessarily thinking about hockey every day.
“I was actually in Kelowna out on the lake and got a call, looked at my phone and at first glance, I couldn’t even grasp what my GM was calling me about. And then all of a sudden everything happened so fast, and you’re getting moved, and your life kind of flashes before your eyes a little bit.”
The Vancouver, B.C. native is coming off a strong sophomore effort in Colorado, for whom he posted 15 goals and 42 points. He posted 19 goals and 43 points as a rookie one year prior.
Now set to begin his third year in the big leagues as a Maple Leaf, Kerfoot said his first text after learning of the trade was sent to fellow Vancouverite Morgan Rielly.
“The first thing I did — I’m pretty close with Morgan Rielly, and he works out with me in Vancouver. Immediately when I got off the phone I texted him and told him I was traded,” Kerfoot said. “He couldn’t believe it at first, and I was like, ‘No, like, I’m coming to Toronto.’ And I think that was sort of just to help myself grasp the situation a little bit, and talk to someone about it, because I’d never gone through it before. I didn’t know what to expect.
“So that was the first thing I did, and just tried to reach out to as many people, and then all of a sudden when it becomes announced — which was about 20 minutes after I found out — then all of a sudden everyone’s reaching out to you and it becomes a little bit more real.”
Listen to the full interview with Kerfoot and former NHLer Dominic Moore in the video at the top of this post.