Leafs Trade Kapanen to the Penguins
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded right wing Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Details for Penguins:
RW Kasperi Kapanen
D Jesper Lindgren
LW Pontus Aberg
please forgive any type
— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) August 25, 2020
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen is returning to the club that drafted him 22nd overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. He was traded the following year to the Leafs as part of the deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Penguins.
A 20-goal scorer in 2018-19, the 24-year-old right-winger tallied 13 goals and 36 points in 69 games this season. He’ll bring speed and decent offensive skills to Pittsburgh’s forward lines. His addition could signal Conor Sheary’s departure from the Penguins via the unrestricted free agent market at the season’s end.
Aberg is a restricted free agent who spent most of his career bouncing between the NHL and the AHL. He’ll likely end up with the Penguins’ farm team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton if he re-signs. Lindgren is in the second year of a three-year, two-way contract and is also likely headed to the AHL next season.
The Leafs shed Kapanen’s $3.2 million annual average value through 2021-22, giving them $7.7 million in cap room for 2020-21. They also replace the first-round pick they traded to Carolina last year in the Patrick Marleau deal. A 15th-overall selection is just two picks lower than the one they sent to the Hurricanes.
It was rumored throughout this season that the Leafs might use Kapanen as trade bait for a top-four, right-side defenseman. It’ll be interesting to see if management retains that pick or use it to address their immediate blueline needs.
The Leafs also picked up an affordable depth forward in Rodrigues, who’s a restricted free agent coming off a one-year, $2-million contract. He could be headed to the AHL Marlies next season depending on what other moves Leafs management has in store. Warsofsky has a year remaining on his two-way contract and is likely headed to the Marlies next season.
Hallander could be intriguing. Dobber Hockey indicates he’s a dangerous offensive forward with good skating and decent defensive skills. However, he didn’t stand out during last August’s World Junior Summer Showcase and suffered a fractured leg that cost him half the season. The 20-year-old might become an NHL regular one day but the jury seems out on him for now. He’s on a one-year contract for next season with SHL club Lulea HC. If he doesn’t make the Leafs next season, he’ll be skating in Sweden.