The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Ron Hextall took care of their last official outstanding order of business on Thursday. The Penguins signed RFA Kasperi Kapanen to a two-year deal with a $3.2 million cap hit.
Kapanen was to have an arbitration hearing on July 30. PuckPedia.com was first with the story, which has been confirmed by PHN.
Kapanen struggled to one of, if not his worst professional season in 2021-22. In 79 games, Kapanen had only 11 goals and 32 points. He was a healthy scratch later in the season and shuffled down in the Penguins lineup.
Late in the season, Kapanen did have a small offensive surge.
“I’m happy I showed up at some point this season,” he joked back in early May. “Better late than never, I guess.”
Kapanen was one of several Penguins RFAs to be tendered a qualifying offer. His salary last season was only $800,000 so his QO was also small, but his AAV was the same $3.2 million.
Kasperi Kapanen, 25, will be a UFA at the expiration of the deal. He turns 26 on Saturday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins lineup appears to be complete after signing Kapanen, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust, and Rickard Rakell. Hextall also traded away defenseman John Marino for young defender Ty Smith and a third-round pick. Hextall acquired defenseman Jeff Petry (and forward Ryan Poehling) from the Montreal Canadiens for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick.
The Penguins lines and roster are full.
In two seasons with the Penguins, Kapanen played 119 games with 22 goals and 62 points. The Penguins re-acquired him before the 2020-21 season in exchange for a first-round pick (16th overall) and Evan Rodrigues (rights), David Warsofsky, and prospect Filip Hallander. The Penguins also got the rights to Pontus Aberg, who never played in the organization, and Jesper Lindgren.
According to PuckPedia.com, the Penguins are $1.3 million over the salary cap and have 24 NHL contracts, one over the limit. Additional demotions, waivers, LTIR designations or trades will necessarily follow. The Penguins currently have 13 forwards, nine defensemen, and two goalies ticketed for the NHL roster.
Newly acquired defenseman Ty Smith can be sent to the WBS Penguins without passing through waivers, which puts the Penguins about 400k over the cap in real-world projections.