The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t wasted any time after Christmas to make a tweak to their roster, sending forward Kasperi Kapanen down to the AHL today. It’s unclear exactly how the Maple Leafs are allowed to make this transaction, as the holiday roster freeze is still in effect. The move must have either actually happened on the 23rd and only been announced now, or is set to take effect on the 28th when the freeze is lifted. According to CapFriendly, the only other way for a move to be made is if the Maple Leafs are activating one of their long-term injured reserve players, which is extremely unlikely since they’re not expected to play again.
Kapanen, 21, continues to be an enigma for Toronto fans, as he’s shown flashes of brilliance during short recalls but hasn’t been able to stick in the lineup on a full-time basis. It seemed as though he’d earned an NHL spot in the playoffs last season, but started the year in the minor leagues once again due to the team’s roster restrictions—Kapanen is waiver-exempt, something several other fringe roster players are not.
Still, he continues to play nearly a point-per-game pace in the minor leagues and wait for his opportunity in Toronto. A big part of the Phil Kessel trade from a few years ago, there is still likely a future in Toronto for the son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen.