Details are still sketchy as of 11:25 a.m., but multiple sources confirmed to PHN the Pittsburgh Penguins have re-acquired Toronto Maple winger Kasperi Kapanen, in exchange for the Penguins first round pick (15th overall) and prospect Filip Hallander. The Penguins also received Swedish prospect defenseman, Jesper Lindgren.
As part of the deal, teams swapped minor leaguers with defenseman David Warsofsky going to Toronto and Pontus Aberg coming to the Penguins. Aberg was part of the 2017 Nashville Predators lineup which the Penguins defeated to win the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins also traded the rights to RFA Evan Rodrigues, whom the Penguins acquired as part of the Conor Sheary deal at the NHL trade deadline. Rodrigues played six games for the Penguins.
Aberg played five NHL games this season with one assist. He’s played 132 career games in the NHL over five seasons and scored 17 goals.
Both Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet and Daren Dreger of TSN reported Kapanen was about to return to the organization which made him a first-round pick in 2014. Kapanen has two years remaining on his contract which carries a $3.20 million AAV.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now was the first to report that Hallander and the coveted first-round pick were going to Toronto.
Kapanen, 24, would fit the direction GM Jim Rutherford prescribed in his season-ending press conference. Rutherford said the Penguins needed to get younger and hungrier. The forward would also join a growing number of Finnish natives in the Penguins system.
Kasperi Kapanen has completed two full NHL seasons and scored 44 and 36 points respectively. He has been utilized primarily as a bottom-six winger with the talented Toronto Maple Leafs. Last season, Kapanen had 20 goals and 44 points but slipped to just 13 goals this season.
Rumor blogs pounced on early word of the deal and scurried speculation included Jack Johnson, but a team source told PHN that was not true. Fake accounts also mentioned Bryan Rust, but that also was not true.
The Penguins changes were necessitated after two straight opening-round losses, while Toronto has been bounced from the NHL postseason in four straight opening rounds.
Lindgren, 23, is a Swedish defenseman with a slight build. The 6-foot, 161-pound defenseman has been loaned to a Swedish team for the upcoming season as uncertainty surrounds the AHL season. Lindgren played 31 AHL games this season and scored nine points (1g, 8a). He has played only 35 games in North America after he also played four AHL games for the Toronto Marlies in 2017-18.
Lindgren was the fourth-round choice for Toronto in 2015. His style may remind some of Marcus Pettersson, as Lindgren is a smooth-skating defender with a good first pass.
PHN will have a full analysis of the trade when the details are final.