Leafs gain cap space, prospect from Penguins
The biggest motivation for making this deal had to be the savings in cap space for Toronto. Moving Kapanen frees up $3.2 million in cap space for the Maple Leafs in the next two seasons.
The Maple Leafs also replace a first-round pick that they traded to Carolina to offload Patrick Marleau’s contract last off-season. The pick will be 15th in the upcoming draft. It is a valuable asset, but for a team that likes to think they are close to contending, does not make much sense.
Rodrigues is an undrafted 27-year-old who is a restricted free agent this offseason. He has played centre and left-wing in his career, mostly in Buffalo and for seven games with the Penguins last season.
He has 27 goals and 45 assists in 199 career games and is a minus-30 for his career. Rodrigues made $2 million last season, and if the Leafs re-sign him for anything close to that, then the cost savings on Kapanen will have been a waste.
Warsofsky is a 30-year-old journeyman defender who was drafted in the fourth round by St. Louis in 2008. He has appeared in 55 career NHL games with five different teams. He seems to be nothing more than a veteran presence for the Marlies. Although with how the Leafs defence looked at times last season, who knows.
Finally, the Maple Leafs acquired prospect Hallander to complete the deal. The 20-year-old was Pittsburgh’s second-round draft pick in 2018. He has played in Sweden since being drafted by the Pens.
According to Elite Prospects, Hallander is a “two-way forward with a strong skating ability. Works hard and forechecks and backchecks impressively. Shoots and passes the puck equally well. Smart in all three zones and a good team player.”
It is hard to see any of these assets moving the needle for the Maple Leafs, which leads me to believe that salary cap space was the biggest reason to ship out the 24-year-old Kapanen.