There was a major trade in the NHL on Tuesday as the Toronto Maple Leafs dealt Kasperi Kapanen back to the Penguins, along with Jesper Lindgren and Pontus Aberg in exchange for the Penguins first round pick in 2020 (15th overall), Evan Rodrigues, Filip Hallander and David Warsofsky.
It looks like Pittsburgh received the best player in the deal as Kapanen, who was selected 22nd overall in the 2014 draft, is the best player thus far in the group, as he had a big 2018-19 season with 20 goals and 24 assists. He slumped this season to only 13 goals and 36 points but the talk is that Kapanen will be a top-six forward in Pittsburgh and that means playing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in the middle. That is a serious center that Kapanen would have if he sticks, and it would greatly increase his fantasy value.
The other two players picked up by the Penguins are Aberg, who played only five games with the Maple Leafs this season, spending most of his time in the AHL. Aberg signed a one-year deal with Traktor Chelylabinsk of the KHL so his NHL career is on hold at this time. Jesper Lindgren is also heading back to Europe, but he is on loan to Modo of the Swedish League and should return to North America once training camp begins, hopefully in November. Lindgren was taken in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft and had a goal and five points in 31 AHL games, his first season in North America.
The big get for the Maple Leafs (actually there is more than one) is the salary cap relief they receive as Kapanen is going into the middle year of a three-year contract that will have a salary cap hit of $3.2 million. The good news for Pittsburgh is that the actual cash outlay was $4.4 million last season so the Penguins will have to pay only $5.2 million over the next two seasons but still have a $3.2 million cap hit in each year.
The Leafs also get the 15th pick in the draft and this year is considered a deep one by pundits, so a very good player should be drafted. While this will not help them in 2020-21, it’s hopefully another piece of the puzzle. The cap hit, along with the likelihood of the Maple Leafs not interested in UFAs-to-be, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci, will leave the team with some cap space to fill out their roster properly.
The additions of Rodrigues and Warsofsky are depth moves although Rodrigues has some talent and it could come to the fore playing with talented players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and/or John Tavares. Rodrigues played one year of college hockey with the Sabres Jack Eichel in 2014-15 at Boston University and had 21 goals and 61 points in 41 games.
The intriguing prospect is Filip Hallander who apparently the Maple Leafs are quite enamored with. Hallander was drafted 58th overall in 2018 and the second-round forward has some ability. Here is what McKeen's Hockey wrote about him the last two seasons, courtesy of Jimmy Hamrin.
McKeen's Yearbook 2018-19 - Were it not for a knee injury which hampered him for a large portion of his draft year, and ultimately prevented him from representing his native Sweden at the WU18 tournament, Hallander would not likely have been available for the Penguins to trade up in the draft and select towards the end of the second round. A full bodied and strong young center, Hallander has already shown the ability to impose himself on men, a trait which worked well as he had a point every other game playing adults in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second tier of hockey. Assuming a full recovery from his injuries, he projects to bring above average play almost across the board, notably for his powerful stride and strong shot. He is also accustomed to playing a 200-foot game.
That was written after his draft year and the following was written before the 2019-20 season.
McKeen's Yearbook 2019-20 - Hallander is starting to look like a good second round pick, not Jake Guentzel-in-the-third good, but good. The 18-year-old played his first season in the SHL and was one of the best forwards on his team. He is a smart power forward with nice hands and skills. He works hard in all three zones and reads a forecheck very well. When he creates scoring chances, he often does so through winning the puck over for his team and going hard to the net. The knock on him so far is that he hasn’t got any tools that are elite other than his compete level and forechecking. The skating, shot, and puck skills are slightly above average, but none are elite. As a future NHLer he isn’t an elite producer, but he can play and contribute in various roles. He is strong on the PK and around the net on a power play. Next season he will play in SHL again.
This past season Hallander had five goals and 14 points in 27 games with Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League. Special thanks to McKeens Hockey for the writeups. Fantasy fans should definitely get their Yearbook and Draft Guide. Here is the link.
TAMPA BAY 4 BOSTON 3 (OT) (The best-of-seven series tied at 1-1)
Ondrej Palat scored the overtime winner to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory and even the best-of-seven series at 1.
Halak stopped 36 shots in taking the overtime loss to lose his first game in five contests since taking over from Tuukka Rask who opted out of the playoffs to be with his family during the pandemic.
Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 22 shots in the Tampa Bay net to improve his record to 7-3 in the post-season.
The Lightning tied it before the end of the first when Zach Bogosian made a nice deke at the blueline and passed it to an open Blake Coleman who dived and put his stick on the puck and speared it past Halak.
The Lightning took their first lead of the game in the third as Coleman went in alone and beat Halak through his legs.
David Pastrnak had a pair of assists for Boston.
Joakim Nordstrom had seven hits, the same as in Game 1.
Victor Hedman had an assist as well as six blocked shots.
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VANCOUVER 5 VEGAS 2 (The best-of-seven series tied 1-1)
It was Toffoli’s first game back after missing all but the opening contest against Minnesota and it took him all of nine seconds in his opening shift of the game as Pettersson took the puck around the net and found a wide open Toffoli beside the net and he easily put the puck into the empty cage.
Bo Horvat scored his first of the contest at the 10:59 mark of the first period with a power play marker. Toffoli centered the puck from behind the net and his little shovel pass found Horvat who deposited it into the net.
The Golden Knights cut the lead in half 6:34 into the second period as Alex Tuch scored his sixth of the post-season. Nicolas Roy outskated the Vancouver defense and sent the puck to a wide-open Tuch who beat Jacob Markstrom.
Pettersson scored with 1:25 left in the second to restore the two-goal lead while Horvat scored his second of the contest just 18 seconds into the third to give the Canucks a commanding 4-1 lead.
Max Pacioretty got the Golden Knights close with a power play goal with 1:26 left in the third but it was too little, too late as Tanner Pearson scored into the empty net with 30 seconds left to make the final 5-2.
Markstrom was great all night as he stopped 38-of-40 shots for his eighth win of the post-season.
Lehner was beaten for four goals on only 26 shots and you have to wonder if Peter DeBoer and the Golden Knights will switch to Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 3 Wednesday.
Theodore led everyone with eight shots on goal.
Edler, Tuch and William Carrier each had a pair of penalties.
Blake Coleman – 2
Brad Marchand – 2
Bo Horvat - 2
David Pastrnak – 2
Elias Pettersson – 2
Alexander Edler – 2
Tyler Toffoli – 2
Shea Theodore - 2
Shots on Goal
Shea Theodore – 8
Max Pacioretty – 5
William Karlsson – 5
Bo Horvat – 5
David Pastrnak - 5
Joakim Nordstrom – 7
Tyler Motte – 6
Ryan Reaves - 6
Blake Coleman - 6
Brandon Carlo – 6
William Carrier – 4
Alex Tuch – 4
Alexander Edler - 4