We’re less than a month away from the NHL’s trade deadline and rumours are going to start flying.
One that seems to have found some traction in the mill is the Edmonton Oilers interest in Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen.
A 2014 first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kapanen has flourished into a scoring threat buried amid a mountain of offence with the Maple Leafs. Since joining the Leafs as a regular in 2017-18, he currently ranks 10th in P/60 (1.92) in all situations amongst forwards with >1000 minutes played.
Now, you may look at that and think “Wow, 10th? That’s not that impressive.” But for a stark comparison, that would come in fourth on the Oilers among the same parameters.
Kapanen has shown the ability to drive play at even-strength (52.51 CF%) while offering a good goal rate (52.53 GF%). He’s had limited time on Using hockeyviz.com’s Isolated Impact chart, you can see Kapanen provides above-average offence and defence.
Theoretically, Kapanen could step into the Oilers lineup and fill a top-six winger slot and provide some much-needed offence to the club. He had a breakout season last year for the Maple Leafs scoring 20 goals and adding 24 assists in 78 games all the while playing 16:37 a night.
This year, his scoring pace is continuing on a similar path potting 10 goals and another 18 assists in 50 games.
Now, to the important stuff — examining what a trade could look like. Kapanen is in his first year of a three-year deal paying him $3.2-million per season. At the end of his contract, he stays under team control as an RFA.
Trading a young, cost-controlled offensive weapon isn’t something many teams are willing to do but the aforementioned mountain of offence — and lack of defence on the Maple Leafs — has caused him to be one of the hottest commodities this trade deadline.
And for the Edmonton Oilers, they may have the perfect right-shot, top-four shutdown defenceman that the Maple Leafs could use — Adam Larsson.
Using PuckPedia’s brand new myPuckPedia GM Mode, I took a look at what the deal might look like between the two clubs.
What jumps out right away is the difference in salary between the two. Larsson is owed $966,667 more against the cap than that of Kapanen, and for a team already dipping deep into the LTIR pool that might not work for the Maple Leafs. And truth be told, a one-for-one may not be enough for Toronto to bite.
Balancing out the salary numbers with the Edmonton Oilers eating $966,667 of Larsson salary for this year and next, and including a 2nd round draft pick might get the Leafs to bite.
The trade would allow the Edmonton Oilers to slot Kapanen into their top six as a scoring threat ahead of the playoffs, while the Maple Leafs would acquire a staunch defender to help bolster their team.
Do you have a better idea for a trade the Oilers could make? Head to PuckPedia.com and you can make your own trades and roster today.
On Twitter: @zjlaing