Let’s flashback to July 1, 2015.
The Penguins had been eliminated in five games by the New York Rangers less than 3 months prior and were looking to re-tool their roster.
Jim Rutherford swung for the fences and managed to swing the trade with the Maple Leafs that sent Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh.
One of the key pieces going the other way to Toronto was Kasperi Kapanen.
Yesterday, in an attempt to re-tool the roster again, Rutherford re-aquired Kapanen in a trade with the Maple Leafs.
TRADE ALERT— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) August 25, 2020
The Penguins have acquired forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Pontus Aberg, and defenseman Jesper Lindgren from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Evan Rodrigues, David Warsofsky, Filip Hallander and a 2020 1st round draft pick.
Details: https://t.co/VuyC7FB4bb pic.twitter.com/KZAwEVO0lY
Five years may have gone by quickly, so let’s take a look at what Kapanen has done while part of the Leafs organization.
Kapanen would spend almost the entirety of the season with the AHL Marlies, putting up 25 points in 44 games. He would get a late season call-up, playing in 9 games at the NHL level.
The following season was a similar path for Kapanen with better production, scoring 43 points in 43 games at the AHL level. He would be called up for 8 NHL games and registered one goal. That goal would come against......the Penguins!
The goal would propel the Leafs into the playoffs, where Kapanen scored perhaps his most notable goal, a double overtime game-winner on the road against the top-seeded Washington Capitals in the 2017 Playoffs.
Kapanen would split time between the AHL and NHL in the second year of his entry-level contract.
A contract year for Kapanen proved to be a good one for him. With William Nylander holding out through the beginning of the season, Kapanen would see time on the Maple Leafs top line and his production benefited as a result, scoring 20 goals and 44 points in 78 games.
Coming off of that contract year, Kapanen would sign a 3-year, $9.6M contract extension that carried a $3.2M per year cap hit.
The most recent season for Kapanen, and his first under his new contract saw slightly lower levels of point production.
At the time the NHL stopped play in the regular season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Kapanen had registered 13 goals and 36 points in 69 games.
Kapanen has two years left on his contract that carries a $3.2M cap hit. At 24 years old now and his entry-level cheap years behind him, the Penguins better hope that 2019-20 was an anomaly and the production they can get will be closer to the 2018-19 version — but better.