PITTSBURGH ACQUIRES KASPERI KAPANEN FROM TORONTO
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Pontus Aberg, and defenseman Jesper Lindgren from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Evan Rodrigues, David Warsofsky, Filip Hallander and a 2020 first-round draft pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
“Kasperi is a good, young player that brings speed to our lineup and plays the way we want to play,” said Rutherford. “Having previously drafted him, we know him as a player and feel he can improve our top-6. Aberg and Lindgren are both young players that will further add to our organizational depth.”
Kapanen is signed through the 2021-22 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $3.2 million, while Lindgren has one year remaining on his entry-level contract which has an average annual value of $775,833. Aberg is currently a restricted free agent.
The 24-year-old Kapanen was the Penguins’ first-round draft pick in 2014 before being traded to Toronto in the Phil Kessel deal. He is coming off of a season in which he recorded 36 points (13G-23A) in 69 games for the Leafs, eclipsing the 30-point plateau for the second-consecutive season. He led all Toronto skaters with two shorthanded goals in 2019-20, and over the last two seasons, only 11 players in the NHL have scored more shorthanded goals than Kapanen’s four.
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound winger’s best season came in 2018-19, where he established career highs in games played (78), goals (20), assists (24), points (44), plus/minus (+12), power-play points (4) and game winning goals (3).
In 202 career regular-season games, all with Toronto, Kapanen has 41 goals, 49 assists and 90 points. He has also appeared in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games where he’s picked up seven points (4G-3A).
A native of Kuopio, Finland, Kapanen has starred internationally many times for Finland, including winning a gold medal at the 2016 World Junior Championship and a bronze medal at the 2013 World Under-18 Championship.
Kapanen was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round (22nd overall) in 2014. Prior to being drafted, he played parts of three seasons with KalPa of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, accumulating 39 points (22G-17A) in 101 games. While with KalPa, he was teammates with his father, long-time NHL player Sami Kapanen. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford drafted Kasperi’s dad, Sami, in the fourth round (87th overall) in the 1995 NHL Draft when he was the GM of the Hartford Whalers.
Aberg, 26, spent the majority of the 2019-20 campaign with the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, where he finished second in team scoring with 44 points (20G-24A) in 55 games. He also appeared in five games for the Maple Leafs, picking up an assist.
The 6-foot, 194-pound winger has played parts of four NHL seasons with Nashville, Edmonton, Anaheim, Minnesota and Toronto, where he’s compiled 17 goals, 27 assists and 44 points in 132 regular-season games. He’s also appeared in 18 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with Nashville, where he’s picked up five points (3G-2A).
In 260 career AHL contests, the Stockholm, Sweden native has registered 178 points (97G-81A).
Aberg was originally drafted by Nashville in the second round (37th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft that was hosted in Pittsburgh. Prior to his time in North America, Aberg played in the SHL, Sweden’s top professional league, recording 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points. He was nominated for SHL Rookie of the Year following the 2011-12 campaign.
Lindgren, 23, spent the entirety of the 2019-20 season with the Toronto Marlies, where he appeared in 31 games, recording one goal, eight assists, nine points and a plus-5. He’s played in 35 career AHL games over course of three seasons, tallying 10 points (1G-9A) total.
A native of Umea, Sweden, the 6-foot-1, 176-pound defenseman spent the 2018-19 campaign with HPK of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league. While on HPK, Lindgren was teammates with current Penguins’ prospects Emil Larmi, Niclas Almari and Valtteri Puustinen. He finished second among team defensemen with 19 points (2G-17A) in 45 games, and later won the Liiga Championship with HPK, appearing in 16 postseason contests.
Lindgren was originally drafted by Toronto in the fourth round (95th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.