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Pittsburgh penguins take chance with struggling winger

Creator: Scott Taetsch Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2021 Getty Images

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed their winger, but he certainly hasn’t lived up to his potential. Kasperi Kapanen signed a 2 year deal with an AAV of $3.2M. This is the same AAV that he had on his last contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kapanen was aquired by the Penguins in the summer of 2020, where he was traded along with Pontus Aberg and Jesper Lindgren, and in return the Maple Leafs received Evan Rodrigues, Filip Hallander, David Warofsky, and a 2020 first round pick.

Kapanen’s time in Pittsburgh has certainly been disappointing, In his first season with the Penguins, he only played in 40 regular season games due to injury. In those 40 games, he did score 11 goals and pick up 19 assists for a total of 30 points, decent numbers at a $3.2M cap hit, so he wasn’t off to a bad start on the ice, but he did miss half the season. He did play in playoff that season, putting up 3 points in 6 games, but was a -3 as the Penguins crashed out in the first round.

Creator: Justin K. Aller | Credit: NHLI via Getty Images
Copyright: 2021 NHLI

His second year in Pittsburgh, the 2021-2022 season, was where he really struggled. He played in 79 games, scoring 11 goals and assisting 21 for a total of 32 points. For comparison, in his final 2 years in Toronto he had 36 points in 69 games, and 44 points in 78 games. In playoffs his struggles continued, he picked up just 3 assists and scored 0 goals in 7 games as the Penguins crashed out in the first round again.

His career playoff numbers are far off from what you would expect from his potential, he has played in 38 playoff games, scoring 5 goals and assisting 8 for a total of 13 points. His offensive ability has been declining over the seasons, but one upside is he had a better defensive year last season. Look at this player card from JFreshHockey:

Did the Penguins make the right choice in re-signing Kapanen? He will be a UFA at the end of this 2 year deal.

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