We’ve written a number of articles in respect to what the Toronto Maple Leafs might do as the NHL Trade Deadline creeps closer. And, one theme tends to keep popping up.
If the Maple Leafs are going to fill any big position of need and in doing so fill a huge hole, they may have no choice but to move Kasperi Kapanen.
Teams are certainly asking about Kapanen when discussions for strong backup goalies who could be starters in the NHL get started. Or, if Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas wants a defenseman that can fit into the team’s longer-term plans, the conversation doesn’t get off the ground if Kapanen or something of more value isn’t part of the talks.
But, if you’re Dubas, you can only trade Kapanen once.
Do you do it?
The Good Things About Kapanen
He’s a potential top-six forward on most NHL teams. He’s got a fair deal at $3.2 million per season for the next two seasons beyond this one and he’s got value around the NHL. If you dangle him, you will get teams calling.
If Dubas settles into the idea that he needs to move the forward, he can potentially solve a few problems and he’s still strong at forward with his core pieces in tact. In Toronto, he might be hidden behind some bigger offensive pieces. On another team, he’ll get an opportunity and an opposing GM might give him a shot to prove it.
The Bad Things About Kapanen
He’s not necessarily a proven scorer so he might not have the value in trade Toronto thinks and he’s not making enough money to really alleviate some of Toronto’s cap concerns should you move him. That means, players like Matt Dumba might not make sense because he effectively makes twice what Kapanen does.
Certainly, if your Dubas, you don’t want to move Kapanen in the wrong deal or in a situation that doesn’t really help. This is especially true if the team doesn’t contend this season in a longer playoff run and then at the end of the season look back and go, ‘What the heck did we trade him for and what do we have to show for it?’
What would you do? Do you move Kapanen in the right deal? Do you hang onto him no matter what? If you’re Dubas, are you sold that moving him for a d-man or a backup goalie actually puts you over that hump?