Photo: Yahoo Canada Sports
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Tuesday that they acquired forward Kasperi Kapanen, forward Pontus Aberg, and defensive prospect Jesper Lindgren from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, forward Evan Rodrigues, center prospect Filip Hallander, and AHL defenseman David Warsofsky.
Details for Penguins:
RW Kasperi Kapanen
D Jesper Lindgren
LW Pontus Aberg
please forgive any type
— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) August 25, 2020
Both teams are making changes after they each fell in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers earlier this month. The fifth-seeded Penguins fell to the Montreal Canadiens, the lowest seed (No. 12) in the Eastern Conference entering the NHL’s return-to-play plan, in four games while the eighth-seeded Maple Leafs lost to the ninth-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets in five.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford expressed after his team’s season ended that there would need to be changes made to the team.
Kapanen recorded 13 goals, 36 points, an even rating, a 51.63% Corsi-for percentage, and a 47.92% expected goals-for percentage in 69 games with the Maple Leafs this season. He also tallied two assists and a -2 rating in the team’s five-game loss to the Blue Jackets during the qualifying round. In 202 career NHL games, all with the Maple Leafs, the 24-year-old had recorded 41 goals, 91 points, and a +6 rating.
He was dealt to the Maple Leafs from the Penguins in the trade that sent forward Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh on July 1, 2015.
With the acquisition, the Penguins improve an offense that averaged 3.20 goals-per-game (10th in the NHL) during the regular season and a power-play featuring centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins were 16th with a 19.9% power-play efficiency during the regular season, arguably a disappointment but Crosby, Malkin, defenseman Kris Letang, and forward Jake Guentzel all missed a significant amount of time.
Kapanen has three years left on a contract that pays him $3.2 million annually.
Rodrigues, 27, recorded six goals, 10 points, a -8 rating, a 51.27% Corsi-for percentage, and a 48.51% expected goals-for percentage in 45 games with the Penguins and Sabres in 2019-20. The Penguins acquired him in a trade with the Sabres that also sent forward Conor Sheary to Pittsburgh and forward Dominik Kahun to upstate New York at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Rodrigues can become a restricted free agent this fall.
The Maple Leafs add some depth to an offense that already ranked third in the NHL with an average of 3.39 goals-per-game during the regular season.
Lindgren, 23, was the 95th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Maple Leafs. He recorded a goal, nine points, and a +5 rating in 31 regular-season games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in 2019-20. Aberg recorded an assist and an even rating in five games with the Maple Leafs and 20 goals, 44 points, and a +2 rating in 55 games with the Marlies this past season.
Hallander, whom the Penguins selected 58th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, posted five goals, 14 points, and a +8 rating in 27 games with the SHL’s Luleå HF and three assists in four World Jr. Championship games with Sweden last season.
Warsofsky, 30, tallied 10 goals, 33 points, and a -33 rating in 51 games with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this past season.
By Harrison Brown