Toronto Maple Leafs: Potential trade idea involving Kasperi Kapanen

Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Minnesota Wild during the Next Generation NHL game at Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Minnesota Wild during the Next Generation NHL game at Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs could reportedly make Kasperi Kapanen available in a trade if it brings in a significant return but what could that entail?

Reading Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts column always inspires ideas especially when you get an idea of where the trade discussion is heading especially when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

There were a couple of notes involving players on the Leafs who could be made available and this one about Kasperi Kapanen certainly drew some attention for a couple of reasons.

"There’s been a lot of talk about Kasperi Kapanen, but the sense around the NHL is the only way Toronto moves him now is in a big deal. Something that makes them significantly better.–Elliotte Friedman on Kapanen’s availability."

What’s important to understand here is that Kyle Dubas isn’t just going to make Kapanen available unless the deal can substantially improve the team. The reason why this shouldn’t be overlooked is because of this tweet TSN’s Darren Dreger sent out regarding the Leafs potentially wanting Alexander Georgiev.

This got a lot of people talking that maybe the price for Georgiev is too much for the Leafs and maybe that is the case but people need to look beyond using Kapanen to acquire a backup goaltender.

It seems like Kapanen’s value has been diminished quite a big for some reason because of the role he plays on the team even though he is on pace to break the career-high of 44 points he had last season.

The 23-year-old has been a rather consistent player since making the jump to the NHL on a fulltime basis halfway through the 2017-18 season. For the past two seasons, Kapanen has been averaging well over 16 minutes of ice time per night, played on the penalty kill and has never really had a consistent line to develop chemistry with.

He also possesses some strong attributes that make him a highly touted player including his speed and shot. That has made him a potential trade target for many teams looking to bolster their team’s offence including the Calgary Flames.

Eric Francis of Sportsnet wrote that the Flames should be looking at acquiring Kapanen from the Leafs which certainly makes sense for them but here is the problem. Francis suggests that Calgary should look at including players like T.J. Brodie, Sam Bennett or Travis Hamonic and all three have red flags.

We all heard about Dubas’ interest in acquiring Brodie in a potential trade for Nazem Kadri that never materialized. The 29-year-old has 14 points in 44 games which is well off the times he was getting between 35 to 45 points on a consistent basis and is a pending UFA. It would be tough to understand why the Leafs would even consider a deal like that at this time.

Bennett’s value has dropped significantly and maybe a change of scenery would benefit him but why would the Leafs move a winger that has a higher ceiling than the former fourth overall pick. Maybe people think the Leafs would take him on as a reclamation project considering he plays with an edge but that doesn’t really make much sense.

The same thing for Brodie would also apply to Hamonic because the 29-year-old is also a pending free agent. He would be an upgrade over Cody Ceci on the right side but at what cost? There is no way the Leafs would give up the years of control Kapanen has for a player that is on an expiring deal and is probably someone the Flames will need in the playoffs just doesn’t add up.

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So what would the Leafs look at in terms of a potential deal for Kapanen? Look at another team that has a defenceman that could be available on the market in the Minnesota Wild.

On TSN’s Insider Trading, Dreger mentioned that general manager Bill Guerin could make Matt Dumba available on the trade block. The Wild have many players who could be available but if Dumba is available, Dubas should be trying to pry the 25-year-old from Minnesota.

At this moment Dumba’s value can’t be any lower considering he is still trying to regain his form from last season which was cut short by a torn pectoral muscle. He has three more seasons left with a $6 million cap hit which might seem expensive but this is a player who had 50 points a couple of seasons ago and would be an ideal long-term replacement for Tyson Barrie.

If the Leafs were interested, you would have to think that Kapanen would have to be involved in a deal but what else would the Leafs have to give up? Maybe a defenceman going back the other way like a Travis Dermott or another forward? It really depends on what Guerin wants to stockpile in terms of assets considering the Wild have some tough contracts that look like major boat anchors right now.

So while everyone seems to be wanting to move Kapanen for a backup goalie or a rental defenceman the only way the Leafs should even consider moving him is if there is something substantial that doesn’t just make a difference for this season. This also means that it might be unlikely to expect Kapanen to go anywhere at least not until the off-season.

Next. Barrie, Muzzin and Ceci drawing trade interest?. dark

What are your thoughts about teams calling about Kapanen? What type of trade would you include him in? Let us know in the comments below.