Leafs Trade Kasperi Kapanen To Penguins In A Cap-Clearing Deal


The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Pittsburgh’s 22nd overall pick in 2014, Kasperi Kapanen, back to the Penguins along with two other players in return for the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft and three other players.

Kapanen returns to the city he was drafted to after spending the better part of 5 seasons with the Leafs franchise. He tallied 90 points in 202 games with Toronto. He signed a three-year extension before this past season started with his cap hit being $3.2 million per year. He provides Pittsburgh with speed and grit, two skills the Penguins sorely needed. They may slot him next to Crosby as both compliment each other’s games.

The other two players that the Leafs sent are Jesper Lindgren and Pontus Aberg. Lindgren is a defenceman who spent the entire season down in the AHL scoring 10 points in 31 games while Aberg played 5 games at the NHL level tallying only one assist. Aberg played majority of the season in the American Hockey League, tallying a solid 44 points in 55 games.


Pittsburgh sent back their 2020 1st round pick (15th overall) to the Leafs. The Pens opted to hold onto this pick while giving the Minnesota Wild the rights to their 2021 1st round pick. The Leafs did not own their own first-round pick for this year as they traded it away to the Hurricanes last year as part of a cap-clearing deal which sent Patrick Marleau to Carolina.

Evan Rodrigues is a career 4th line left winger who is a RFA and made $2 million last year. He adds some grit to the Leafs fourth line although they should not sign him for more than the league minimum as his value does not exceed that salary.

Penguins center Evan Rodrigues celebrates his goal during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Newark, N.J.
via Associated Press

Filip Halander is a 20-year-old center who plays overseas in Sweden. He is an intriguing prospect who has only one year remaining on his entry-level deal.

David Warsofsky is 30-years-old who has spent majority of his career down in the AHL. He has moved through many teams in his career and is a solid offensive defenceman as he scored 33 points in 51 games, scoring 10 goals this past season.

Kyle Dubas has clearly made a cap-clearing deal by sacrificing Kasperi Kapanen who was a very versatile player who fitted well across the forward lineup. It was interesting to see how they managed to steal the first-rounder off of Jim Rutherford with basically just Kapanen and a couple other AHL players.

Rutherford’s move is somewhat understandable which was primarily to boost his forward crop and add another piece who might be able to play with Sidney Crosby, but the price he payed is substantial in giving their first-round pick in the deal.

This deal is only made possible as both teams were eliminated in the qualifying rounds and did not advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Only time will tell who won the deal.

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