The Toronto Maple Leafs have a number of important free agents to negotiate with this summer and Kasperi Kapanen is a top priority.
Having already signed Auston Matthews to a five-year deal, and Mitch Marner waiting until after the season to negotiate his, the Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be turning their attention to Kasperi Kapanen.
The speedy winger has had a breakout season for the Leafs, scoring 18 goals and registering 36 total points in 58 regular season games – one season after registering just nine total points in 38 games.
The upturn in Kapanen’s production has seen him become an interesting prospect for potential offer sheets this summer, but the Leafs will be hoping to lock him down before ever getting close to that point.
According to TSN‘s Darren Dreger, speaking last week on Insider Trading, the Leafs will be opening talks with Kapanen this week, with a number of options they are willing to explore.
“Talk about the possibility of a multi-year extension, what about a bridge deal if the player is even remotely interested in that.” – Darren Dreger
Dreger believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will look into signing Kapanen to a multi-year extension, but could also look at the possibility of a bridge deal if the young Finnish winger is willing.
Signing Kapanen to a bridge deal might be the best way to get a deal done, with the 2014 22nd overall selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins still needing to convince the organisation that he is the real deal after one solid season in the NHL.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a tight cap situation in 2019-20, but things become much easier to handle just one season later.
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If Kapanen is willing to sign a cheaper, one-year deal to help the team get through a tough spot, then he can look to impress even further next season and land himself a long-term deal paying him a lot more.
Even a two-year deal could help Kapanen in the long-term, proving he is a legitimate player capable of stepping up to the level seen this season.
This season alone Kapanen has 30 takeaways and a 53.2 percent Corsi rating, while also using his 6 foot 1 frame to hit 64 times already.
His speed and stick handling adds a lot to the Leafs’ offence and having him on board beyond this season is a must – with the 22-year-old joining Andreas Johnsson, Igor Ozhiganov and Garret Sparks as restricted free agents this summer.
What do you think Leafs Nation? What sort of deal would you like to see get done? How long will Kapanen sign for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.