Fantasy Impact: Kasperi Kapanen Dealt Back to Pittsburgh
On Tuesday morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Kasperi Kapanen, Jesper Lindgren and Pontus Aberg to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Filip Hallander, Evan Rodrigues, David Warsofsky and the 15th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
The Penguins Receive: A 24-year-old, speed-driven winger in Kapanen who the team knows well. In fact, Kapanen is one of just two players that the Penguins have selected in the first round over the last eight drafts.
They also grabbed 23-year-old right-shot defender, Lindgren who provides some puck-moving upside in a depth role. As well as Aberg who has become an elite AHL producer who could find lightning in a bottle if put in a swell spot in Pittsburgh.
I'm fine with Pittsburgh moving a mid-1st and top 3 prospect to give the Crosby/Malkin era another kick at the can.
I just don't know if Kapanen is the guy you target.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) August 25, 2020
The key to this one is Kapanen though. Pittsburgh is betting – and betting big, that he's on the cusp of breaking out and could complement one of the big two pivots. We saw a similar thing happen in Minnesota of late with Kevin Fiala turning from underachiever to potential superstar after being dealt.
Make no mistake, though, this is a big swing.
The Maple Leafs Receive: A whole heck of a lot for a player that was eating up precious cap space down the lineup. The 15th overall selection in 2020 is juicy – especially since Toronto gave their own pick to Carolina in exchange for cap relief victim, Patrick Marleau. There will be a handful of intriguing players in that range that offer longterm upside.
Additionally, Filip Hallander is no slouch himself. The 2018 second-round pick is a quality two-way pivot who performed quite well in his second full season in the SHL. He boasts a strong bet to be a middle-six, swiss-army-knife type of guy. It'll be more difficult to crack the Leafs' lineup than the Pens when he decides to cross the pond though.
Fantasy Players Impacted: For Pittsburgh, this makes six for the Penguins top forward grouping: Sid, Geno, Guentzel, Rust, Zucker and now Kapanen. Conor Sheary would appear to be the new odd-man-out. Obviously, Kapanen is about to see even-strength deployment in a much better situation. I wouldn't go pencilling him in for 30 goals just yet though. There isn't a spot on PP1 so the glass ceiling is thick.
Top prospect, Samuel Poulin – who I predicted would have an inside track on an NHL in the fall and maybe a chance at a top-six spot falls down the pecking order. That's no the worst thing for the 19-year-old. He has things left to accomplish in junior.
In Toronto, Kapanen was used all over the lineup. Constantly rotating. His departure opens up a wing spot on the third line and that job should be filled by Nicholas Robertson. The team needed to open up a hole for the teenaged sniper and they just accomplished it.
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