Welcome back for another installment of The Journey. In the midst of all this entertaining playoff action, two clubs, both of which were eliminated in the qualifying round, blessed us with a fun announcement. That's right folks, we had a trade.
In case you missed it, here is a recap of the deal:
Pittsburgh Penguins receive – Kasperi Kapanen (F), Pontus Aberg (F) and Jesper Lindgren (D)
Toronto Maple Leafs receive – 2020 1st-round pick (15th overall), Evan Rodrigues (F), Filip Hallander (F) and David Warsofsky (D)
*Here is a quick note in case you are not familiar with Filip Hallander – He's a mid-ranged, two-way prospect drafted in the second round of the 2018 entry-draft. His offensive upside is not through the roof, but could grow into a very serviceable third-line contributor.*
It is no secret that even after their disappointing exit, via the Montreal Canadiens, the Penguins were looking to keep their window alive while veterans such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were still relevant. And in all honesty, all power to them, I would likely do the same.
While I fully understand the Penguins need to stay competitive, this struck me as an awfully large price tag for a player of Kapanen’s caliber. Do not get me wrong, he is a terrific player and a strong asset, but a bundle which includes a top-15 pick in a very loaded draft and two very relevant young players (Hallander and Rodrigues) is a slight stretch for a one-time 20-goal scorer. I am curious to know your thoughts on the deal? Catch me on Twitter @hall1289 and let me know.
The move got me thinking of the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect pool (naturally) and how depleted it has become. They have now given up a first-round selection in five of the previous six drafts. Not to mention their ongoing need to trade future assets for current, play-in ready calvary. It is just a matter of time before these moves catch up to them and create yet another dark age for fans to endure. Something they have not lived through since the glory days since the previously mentioned superstars were drafted.
Now, for the task at hand. With teams taking part in pre-season action all over the world, I have been paying close attention to prospects and getting very excited. Edmonton Oilers prospect Jesse Puljuajrvi has looked great, and I cannot help but think to myself – This kid can still play at a high level.
Here are some prospects who I feel could thrive in a new environment and make the most of a second opportunity.