Kasperi Kapanen Traded to Penguins from Maple Leafs in 6-Player Deal

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

Toronto Maple Leafs' Kasperi Kapanen skates during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Kasperi Kapanen is heading to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a massive six-player trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs announced Wednesday they have acquired Evan Rodrigues, Filip Hallander, David Warsofsky and the No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft from the Penguins for Kapanen, Pontus Aberg and Jesper Lindgren. 

The Penguins needed a roster shakeup coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons. They were swept in the first round by the New York Islanders last year and didn't even advance to the playoffs this season, losing 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round. 

Pittsburgh's core group of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang still have two years remaining on their contracts. Each of those three players is at least 33 years old, so the trade works to benefit the organization immediately and long-term. 

Kapanen turned 24 on July 23 and has scored a combined 80 points in 147 games since the start of the 2018-19 season. Lindgren is a 23-year-old prospect who had nine points in 31 games during the 2019-20 season for Modo Hockey of the AHL. 

Aberg signed a one-year deal with Russian team Traktor Chelyabinsk in July after being left off Toronto's postseason roster. He is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason, allowing the Penguins to keep his rights if they extend him a qualifying offer. 

The Maple Leafs have been stuck in neutral for years. They lost in the first round of the postseason in each of the previous three years, but failed to make it that far in 2019-20 after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games in the qualifying round. 

Rodrigues and Warsofsky can be role players in Toronto. Hallander, 20, has scored 35 points in 72 career games for two different teams in the Swedish Hockey League since 2018. 

The most valuable asset for the Maple Leafs in the deal is Pittsburgh's first-round pick. Their pick (No. 13 overall) went to the Carolina Hurricanes as part of the Patrick Marleau trade in July 2019.