Kasperi Kapanen | Toronto Maple Leafs
Stats (2019-20): 13-23-36
Contract: $3.2 million AAV (Expires in 2022)
Age: 23 (July 1996)
The Toronto Maple Leafs need defense. While the Maple Leafs have the second-best offense in the league with 237 goals-for, they also have the 25th ranked defense in the NHL giving up 222 goals-against.
They need to acquire a better shut down defenseman, preferably on the right side. Doing so isn’t going to come cheap. Everyone knows what the Leafs need and the situation the team is in. Their window is wide open, but they keep failing to take advantage of it.
In any trade the Leafs make they’ll have to give something decent off the roster to pull it off. That’s where Kasperi Kapanen comes in.
He recently signed an extension with the Leafs carrying a $3.2 million cap hit. But if Dubas can get what he needs, in terms of defensive help, you know that Kapanen will be expendable to a GM who’s already made eleven trades since July 1, 2019.
Through two seasons, Kapanen has shown he’s a 40 point player. That’s not necessarily the 50+ point benchmark I set out. But Kapanen has been largely used as a third liner. He’s played primarily with Alex Kerfoot and Pierre Engvall at 5on5 this season.
What would happen if Kapanen gets a more offensive role playing on the second line next to Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier? I don’t think that it’s a stretch to think the 23-year-old could be a good top-six player for the Islanders.