Shero remains hopeful, but admits signing Kerfoot is beyond his control

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Alex Kerfoot is just over a month away from potentially hitting unrestricted free agency.

But New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero still seems hopeful they can get a deal done with the 22-year-old center before that day comes.

After completing his senior year at Harvard, with 16 goals and 45 points in 36 games to earn a Hobey Baker Award nomination, the Devils’ draft pick is eligible for free agency on Aug. 15, at which point he’d be able to sign with any NHL team of his choosing.

He’s already been linked to the Vancouver Canucks — a team that has added depth up the middle for next season with a couple of their free agent signings.

Kerfoot is from West Vancouver and played his junior hockey for the nearby Coquitlam Express in the BCHL. He posted 69 points in 51 games with the Express in 2011-12 and was subsequently drafted in the fifth round by the Devils a few months later.

Last summer, former Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey — originally drafted by Nashville before his negotiating rights were traded to Buffalo — eventually made it onto the open market and then signed with the New York Rangers.

“It’s the same thing with Alex. Get through the Draft, get though free agency, see how we look, see how other teams look,” Shero told NJ.com.

“They have until August 15 to do that and that’s what the CBA grants them. I hope Alex signs with us. He knows that, would love to have him. I think what we’re doing, he’d fit in the way he’d play. The speed he brings, the hockey sense, would love to have him. But I don’t control that, he does.”

The Devils have been able to bolster their offensive attack this summer, with the selection of Nico Hischier first overall and the acquisition of Marcus Johansson from Washington.

There had been speculation that Ilya Kovalchuk would return to the NHL. But on Sunday, his one-year contract extension with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL was made official.