By: Justin Fisher
On a day about the free agents, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins made the biggest splash with a trade.
The Penguins acquired Phil Kessel, Tim Erixon, Tyler Biggs and a 2016 2nd round pick from the Maple Leafs for Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, a conditional 2016 1st round pick and a 2016 3rd round pick.
At first glance, this is a bit of an underwhelming return for Kessel, but I’m not sure the Leafs were every going to get that much more anyways. I’m not sure why Toronto would have to give up a second round pick, but here we are.
Kasperi Kapenen, 18, is a top prospect – let’s make no mistake about that. The 6’0, 181lb right winger scored 21 points in 41 games KalPa in Finland’s top league, as well as two points in four games for Wilkes-Barre Scranton in the AHL to close out the season. Kapanen was the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 Draft.
Scott Harrington, 22, is a nice piece, but lacks high-end potential. Last year, Harrington scored 12 points in 48 games for Wilkes-Barre Scranton, and went pointless in 10 games with the NHL Penguins. He’ll be very familiar to Leafs executive Mark Hunter, who had Harrington in London.
Nick Spaling arrived in Pittsburgh as part of the James Neal trade with the Nashville Predators. Spaling scored 27 points in 82 games for the Penguins this past season, and is under contract for one more season at $2.2M.
Adding another first round pick to the cupboard is also nice, even if it will likely be somewhere in the 20-to-30 range. Toronto now has two first round picks, one second round pick, and two third round picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft/
In retaining salary, $1.2M will count against the Leafs’ cap number for the next seven years. This might be the most disappointing part of the deal, but it could be worse. Deep down, I find it annoying more than anything… I doubt it will actually become a hinderance for Toronto in the future!