The Pittsburgh Penguins got some salary relief today when it was announced at 2:00pm that the St. Louis Blues elected to claim Kasperi Kapanen off of waivers. Kapanen and his $3.2 million salary through the 2023-24 season is off the Pens’ books — ending the second stint of the player originally drafted back in 2014.
The Blues watched first-hand back in December what kind of player Kapanen can be, when he recorded a hat trick against STL in a 6-2 Pens win. Unfortunately though, that night’s three goals represented almost half of the seven tallies Kapanen had in 43 games with Pittsburgh this season.
The lack of consistent production was a big reason that the Pens were ready to turn the page and move on from Kapanen after years of de-emphasizing his role in the form of less and less ice-time as a result of quieter and quieter performances. That vicious cycle eventually proved impossible to break out from, or the doghouse of Mike Sullivan who only played Kapanen an average of 12:02 per game this season, three and a half minutes less than Kapanen’s best year in Pittsburgh in 2020-21.
After finding no takers via trade, the Pens elected to put Kapanen on waivers yesterday. By way of St. Louis claiming him, they receive no compensation — aside from the very important $3.2 million that they’ve now cleaned up for next season.
The Pens play in St. Louis this afternoon, but it remains unknown if Kapanen will be playing for the Blues against Pittsburgh. Kapanen did not practice with the Pens yesterday and it was unclear if he traveled with them on their road trip.
By virtue of the cap space freed up, Pittsburgh was able to activate Jan Rutta from the injured reserve.