Penguins Upcoming RFA Kapanen Sign or Trade ’em

Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins have some tough decisions to make. We all know the March 21.2022 NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and that means upcoming Free Agents are officially on the Trading Block.  Or are they?

Guess who is a Restricted Free Agent at the end of 2021-2022…Yup…#42

Would you sign him right now, to a Long-Term Deal?  To a Term Deal?  Or Trade Him?

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Before we begin, we need to discuss what is a Restricted Free Agent -RFA Rules.

A restricted free agent (“RFA”) is the status given to a player whose initial entry level contract has come to an end but has yet to reach unrestricted free agency status. During this period of time their rights are still held by their team and their movement is severely limited .

Once a player becomes a RFA, they are allowed to sign with any team, but (and this is a BIG but), the team that holds their rights is allowed to match any offer made to them. This ‘restricts’ the movement of the player to another team.

If the offer is not matched, then the team signing the player must give compensation in the form of draft picks based on the dollar value that the player is signed for.

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Let’s look at Kasperi Kapanen #42 Right Wing, as of March 10.2022 and discuss what to do.

A 2014 Draft Pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Kapanen has played 2 years with Pittsburgh.

#42 has played some good hockey at times, during his stay with the Penguins, just not enough of it.  He has been used in a variety of situations, with a variety of line mates and it appears he just does not have the chemistry with anyone in particular, on this roster.

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Kapanen #42 – By the Numbers as of March 10.2022

7th -Tied in Team Scoring with 26 Points. (9 Goals – 17 Assists = 26 Points)

9th on the team with 9 Goals.

6th -Tied on the team with 17 Assists.

Kapanen has All-World natural talent, silky moves and can skate like the wind.  He has struggled overall this season and appears to have lost the confidence of the coach, which always leads to the player losing confidence in themselves.

I’m not bashing here or piling on, however, the reality is, if you are a Goal Scorer, you need to Score Goals.

If you are a Checker, you need to Defend.

If you are there to Stop Pucks, you need to Stop Pucks.

The cold hard fact is, Kapanen has been given every chance to succeed with every line mate possible on the Penguins roster and it has just not worked out for whatever reason.  He looks completely lost on the ice, at times.

In the real world, when a person cannot perform up to the standards of the job, they are let go.

It appears the time has come, #42 must be let go.

Kapanen Most Points in a season 44 – 2018-2019

Kapanen Most Goals in a season 20– 2018-2019

Kapanen Most Assists in a season 24 – 2018-2019

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Game Play

The Right-Handed shooting Kapanen is a fast skating, great stickhandling, solid on his feet Winger.  Every Stanley Cup contender needs or has a few of these players.

As mentioned, Kapanen has been given every chance to succeed and now has lost his confidence.  I can still see the potential in this 25-year-old, however, potential does not score goals, or make a play.

Kapanen is currently making $3,200,000.  He will be a Restricted Free Agent at the end of this year.  I would suspect the Penguins are shopping Kapanen as we speak.

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Comparables as of March 10.2022

Zacha – NJ – Age 24 – 28 Points $2.250 Million Per Season

Pearson -VCR – Age 29 – 28 Points $3.25 Million Per Season

Coleman – Clg – Age 25 – 27 Points $4.9 Million Per Season

Roslovic – CBJ – Age 25 – 26 Points $1.838 Million Per Season

Kapanen – Pitts – Age 25 – 26 Points $3.2 Million Per Season

Pittsburgh Penguins as of March 10.2022

34-15-9 = 77 Points

2nd -Tied in the Metropolitan Division (Up from 7th Place in Oct)

5th Tied-in the Eastern conference (Up from 13th Place in Oct)

6th Tied-in the NHL overall (Up from 22nd overall in Oct)

Pittsburgh Penguins are holding the #3 Playoff Spot, in the Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference).

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My View from the Cheap Seats

Kapanen #42 has been a disappointment, as a Penguin to date. Again, I’m not piling on here, he just simply has not kept up his end of the bargain whatsoever.

The reality is, Kapanen is a goal scorer who is simply not scoring goals.  He is not really chipping in many Assists either, for that matter.  Teams have a tough time ponying up big bucks for hockey players who don’t produce or have a difficult time finding a role to succeed in.

Kapanen will not be a coveted Restricted Free Agent, due to the amount of draft picks the signing team would have to give up.  I’m not sure there is a huge payday out there for him, unless he really picks up his scoring, especially in the upcoming playoffs.

Trading Kapanen is an option, however given his lack of production and reduced role on the team, he would be traded at a discount for sure.  (I would like to know what teams are willing to give up to get #42 though.)

The Penguins are a good, solid team right now, and are ready to make a run for the Stanley Cup this year. They returned from the Abyss earlier in the season, worked out the kinks are battle-tested ready for the playoffs.  Kapanen appears to be a lost soul, so it’s time to move on and get what you can, for this run for the cup.

As the Penguins near closer to the March 21.2022 NHL trade Deadline, they are looking to win now as well as Win in the future.  I see this playing out in 3 ways.

1.Signing Kapanen to a Large Long-Term Contract, would be a very bad idea.  He simply has not warranted a raise.  I actually think he should give some of the money back.

2.Signing Kapanen to a Bridge Deal for less money is a maybe, only if he is an amazing teammate and can fit into a role he is suited for and comfortable with, going forward.  Not many players will sign for less money, so I see this as a doubtful option.

3.Play out this season.  Win the Cup.  And part ways via Trade in the offseason.

In my humble opinion, Kapanen, unfortunately has been a disappointment as a Penguin.  I see the potential in him, however, the money needs to be reallocated to other players who are producing.  It looks like this is the end of the Penguin journey for #42.

As you know, in todays Cap Era, a bad long-term contract can hand-cuff a franchise.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the Penguins still have these Upcoming Free Agents to consider Signing or Trading…

The A-List

Letang #58 – Defense

Malkin #71 – Forward

Rust #17 – Forward

Rodrigues #9 – Forward

The B-List

…is for another time

Quote of the Day

“Don’t blame people for disappointing you, blame yourself for expecting too much from them.”