Trade Alert: Leafs trade Kapanen to Penguins

Here we go! Both teams make a HUGE move!

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UPDATE: According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward Kasperi Kapanen and prospect Jesper Lindgren to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 1st round pick.

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This just in courtesy of NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly traded forward Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Details to come.

Friedman's counterpoint over at TSN, Darren Dreger, is also reporting on a trade in progress between the two teams and indeed it appears that Kapanen is the centrepiece.

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Again, more details to come as they're made available.

Kapanen, of course, was originally acquired by the Leafs from the Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade back in 2015. Kapanen was acquired along with forward Nick Spaling, defenseman Scott Harrington, a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick for Kessel, forward Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tim Erixon and a 2nd round pick.

We can only speculate on the return at this point, but the fact of the matter is that Kapanen is a legit top six forward and the Leafs have a bit of a logjam up front. I would not be surprised at all to see a defenseman head back to the Leafs in this deal. Again, stay tuned. 

Both the Leafs and the Penguins had disappointing post-seasons with neither team advancing past the NHL's Qualifying Series. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has made it clear that big changes are coming, while Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has been coy about what his plans are for his team. For what it's worth the Leafs are up tight against the NHL's $81 million salary cap. Kapanen carried a cap hit of $3.2 million for the next two seasons. Not a hefty contract by any means, but certainly a big chunk of change if the Leafs can't guarantee a spot in their top six for Kapanen moving forward. Double so when you look at the onerous contracts they have for superstars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and captain John Tavares. Any way you look at it, the Leafs are in cap trouble.

NHL insider David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported that embattled defenseman Jack Johnson appears to be part of the deal, heading from Pittsburgh to Toronto. Shortly after Tweeting that out though, Pagnotta deleted his Tweet. So... who knows? Penguins insider Dan Kingerski isn't exactly sold on that proposal.