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Breaking: Penguins Sign Kapanen to Two-Year Deal

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Kaperi Kapanen

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.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Logan
Logan
23 days ago

Are the Penguins not over the cap with this move?

Ujn Hunter
23 days ago
Reply to  Logan

Read the article.

“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.”

Dave Heyl
23 days ago

I hope the put him on PK to keep him involved if he is not scoring. He did it in Toronto & I believe he was very reliable. Makes him physical & contributing !!

Jay95
Jay95
22 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

Considering they just paid him about 700k too much… They need to get value out of him any way they can.

I do agree that he should be killing penalties. His style of play could make him extremely dangerous sorry handed.

Frank
Frank
23 days ago

So if he plays at the same level he did last season for the next two years he gets $6.4 million. Not bad. Judging from his demeanor I suspect he will do exactly that. Ugh! Why does “a leopard and spots” come to mind.

Zane Gearhart
Zane Gearhart
23 days ago

After last season they couldn’t have gotten any discount… horrible over pay. The preds just signed Nino niederreiter to 2 years at a slightly higher aav. At least he doesnt disappear or do the Kapanen curl and pull up every single time you hit the ozone.
Anyone else rather have E’Rod….

Pepper
Pepper
23 days ago
Reply to  Zane Gearhart

I’m with you. This is a bad signing. Sizable overpay for a replacement level player. Over $6M on a guy who’s failed with two teams. The way this off-season is going, I expect Hextall to one day go full NWO Hulk Hogan and rip off his Pens shirt to reveal a Flyers jersey underneath. 🤔😁 After all this drama, with tons of top shelf free agents, and a prime opportunity to take a chance and move on from the past…they have basically the same team that’s been bumped in the first round of the playoffs for four straight years. If… Read more »

Bob
Bob
23 days ago
Reply to  Zane Gearhart

Yes

Jay95
Jay95
22 days ago
Reply to  Zane Gearhart

I was seeing 2.5 as a fair deal. That extra 700k is actually a pretty big deal when it comes to emergency call ups.

mstar80
mstar80
23 days ago

Terrible signing. He’s an empty jersey.

Bob
Bob
23 days ago
Reply to  mstar80

😂😂😂👍👍👍

Dean
Dean
23 days ago

Sounding like Jarry last year. Let’s hope that Hextall, coaches, and players who support Kapanen are correct.

Hoping for 2 for 2 for Hextall!

Dean
Dean
23 days ago
Reply to  Dean

LOL. What part don’t you like?

The accurate comparison to Jarry last year or hoping that He gets back to or above his career numbers which is .5 points per game?

Cal
Cal
23 days ago

The Kap came back. He is a fast and skilled player that should improve on last year.

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
23 days ago

buddy deserves a pay cut… interesting move

Bob
Bob
23 days ago

So now let’s send Kappy Pettersson and Zucker to Jimmy Rutherford land in a package deal please since he coveted them so much and traded our future away.

Travis
Travis
23 days ago

Why not sign Rodriguez and let kappy go , another mistake by hexy.

Ujn Hunter
23 days ago
Reply to  Travis

Because ERod played way better than he can in a top 6 role last year which (should never happen) and he’ll be 30 soon. It makes no sense to pay a bottom six 30 year old (Carter is/was a top line star player in a different role now and ERod is/always will be a 3rd/4th line guy). You can’t compare Kappy worst year with ERod best year and assume that the ceiling/floor is anywhere close… on top of a 4 year age difference. You bet on the horse that SHOULD win.

Bob
Bob
22 days ago
Reply to  Travis

I agree Travis..

Knobman
Knobman
23 days ago

This is no good. The third and fourth lines will have little scoring ability and nobody to play a physical game.

Jay95
Jay95
22 days ago
Reply to  Knobman

I mean, technically Kapanen is at his best when he’s physical. And, Poehling is the same way. It just so happens that they don’t do it consistently. Maybe they’ll both become more engaged this year…at least that’s the hope?

Knobman
Knobman
22 days ago
Reply to  Jay95

I hope you are right, but past play says otherwise. He’s not much more physical than Kessell.

Pete
Pete
23 days ago

I don’t get it. ERod was an amazing player for us last year and he doesn’t get an offer and KK gets a 300% raise?

Ujn Hunter
23 days ago
Reply to  Pete

KK got no raise. It is very rare for a player to get no raise. Especially at age 26.

Pete
Pete
22 days ago
Reply to  Ujn Hunter

Article says his salary last year was 800K but AAV was $3.2 M
WTF?

Jay95
Jay95
22 days ago
Reply to  Pete

No, it was 800k to qualify him and maintain his rights. He was making 3.2 mil last year also.

Jay95
Jay95
22 days ago
Reply to  Ujn Hunter

Unfortunately he should have actually gotten a bit less… Somewhere around 2.5 +/- .25 mil. But, if he can just get back to 20 goals and 40 some points… The contract works.

Pete
Pete
23 days ago

No Free Agent forward signed? Disappointing. Basically the same forwards as last year.

Don
Don
22 days ago

Does this make him harder or easier to trade?Trade Cap for Jesse P?

Jay95
Jay95
22 days ago
Reply to  Don

I’d guess easier. A team now knows that he’s locked up for another year and have cost certainty.

Bob
Bob
22 days ago
Reply to  Don

Like to see Jesse here. He’s a big body..

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
22 days ago

While its good to have faith in someone, wouldn’t it have been prudent for a one year show me deal with a pay decrease? I am sure they could have gotten him less expensive on the open market. Like Kappy and hope he does well. They kinda need him to

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