This is the career arc that drove the Toronto Maple Leafs just a little bit crazy. After 20 goals in 2018-19, under head coach Mike Babcock, Kasperi Kapanen had a free fall to 13 goals and an unsteady position in the blue and white lineup the following season. The Pittsburgh Penguins and head coach Mike Sullivan are getting a taste of the frustration as Kapanen muddles through the 2021-22 season.
Some players pop in their contract year.
Kasperi Kapanen seems to sink.
This season, Kapanen has only 24 points, including nine goals in 48 games. He’ll be an RFA with arbitration rights after this season, so the Penguins will control his rights, but at what cost? His current $3.2 million salary is fair for a 40-point scorer, but he has a lot more to give and probably wants to achieve those financial goals, too.
The situation boils down to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ neither getting production from their second-line star center Evgeni Malkin nor their potential star winger, Kapanen.
Something has to give.
On Sunday, the line was outchanced 6-2, and they didn’t have a high-danger scoring chance. We noted their subpar output in the Penguins report card. The Penguins, head coach Mike Sullivan, and even GM Ron Hextall are not without options.