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Breaking down the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs completing MASSIVE trade

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There is an awful lot to unpack here

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins and Maple Leafs completed a big time deal on Tuesday, the first of what could be many future moves to come.

These details were confirmed by Pierre Lebrun and many other sources.

The pieces that matter basically make this a Kapanen for a 1st + prospect (Hallander) swap. Hallander had already agreed to extend his SHL contract, he was a former second round pick but won’t be in the NHL until at least 2021-22. The first round pick also is a future asset.

The other details are fringe-worthy pieces. Lindgren, 23 is a minor league defenseman who was ranked the #24th best young player in the Maple Leafs’ (very deep) organization recently by our friends at PPP. He’s not moving the needle very much.

Pontus Aberg wasn’t in the bubble and signed in the KHL for next season and was possibly only a member of this trade to balance contracts.

David Warsofsky is a minor league defenseman, and whose inclusion is likely financially motivated. Warsofsky is guaranteed a $400,000 minimum salary in the AHL next season, one of the richest two-way deals around. Dealing him helps the Pens’ bottom line more than anything.

Evan Rodrigues was bound to be a restricted free agent and is of little loss since he wasn’t on the playing roster in Pittsburgh’s brief playoff appearance.

So it all boils down to what Kasperi Kapanen (himself the 22nd overall pick in 2014) will do, versus the future value of a No 15 overall pick this year plus the viable prospect in Hallander.

Unfortunately for the Pens, this seems to be a very weird and odd usage of the 15th overall pick. Kapanen turned 24 last month. While he’ll play in the NHL and make the biggest impact of anyone in the short-term, the whole reason Toronto was willing to trade him was because he didn’t fit in or play well with their top six forward group.

For the Pens, this will be the first move, but certainly not the last major transaction they make in the off-season. Their financial cap structure was already iffy, now they’ve added a $3.2 million winger. This moves could have big implications for players like Jared McCann, Matt Murray and others as more dominoes will need to fall to fit this all in.

Even though Kapanen didn’t work out well in Toronto, the Penguins at this point don’t think they’ve added a third line player. They’re going to slot Kapanen in and hope is speed, youth and skill can translate in a scoring capacity in Pittsburgh, thus why they were willing to pay a big price in future assets to get him.

If Kapanen can pan out like Rutherford thinks/expects, that’s not a bad deal. However the question really shifts to is Kapanen as good as Rutherford thinks that he is. That player evaluation and projection is the main issue to determine how this all ends up.

The Pens didn’t have many chips to play, but they just basically pushed them all in and made a huge bet on Kasperi Kapanen.

A lot to unpack and digest here. Let’s get an instant reaction:

Poll

When it comes to today’s Penguins/Maple Leafs trade:

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Love it, excited to see what Kapanen can do with the Pens
    (538 votes)
  • 42%
    Iffy on it, might work but I feel 50/50 on this being a good idea for Pittsburgh
    (1794 votes)
  • 44%
    Hate it, gut reaction is Rutherford has made a bad move for the Pens
    (1874 votes)
4206 votes total Vote Now