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Kasperi Kapanen nearing closer to joining Penguins, unclear when he may join the lineup

The Penguins forward had his last COVID-19 test as part of the protocol after traveling internationally.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins are one step closer to having a boost of offense added to their top line.

Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen has yet to join the team due to immigration and visa issues, which were then followed by an NHL-mandated quarantine period and required testing for COVID-19 due to international travel.

Head Coach Mike Sullivan said Saturday that Kapanen was nearing the end of the process and would soon be joining the team.

Sullivan did not elaborate how soon Kapanen might be in the lineup for the Penguins or what role he might immediately play.

During the offseason, Sullivan said that Kapanen would start with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, but it’s unclear whether that will take place from the jump or if Kapanen will be eased into the lineup. Evan Rodrigues has been filling the role Kapanen was expected to play in.

The Penguins are winless in their first two games, falling 6-3 and 5-2 to the Flyers in Philadelphia.

The Washington Capitals are up next on the schedule with a 12 p.m. puck drop set for Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.